Preview: Ford’s rising stars head north to Knockhill

Luke Browning makes the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost’s annual trip north of the Scottish border with the upper hand after an emphatic hat-trick on home turf at Oulton Park last weekend.

Browning becomes only the third driver in championship history to take a ‘triple crown’, and did it in some style; a sublime move to the outside of Old Hall promoted him to the lead in the opener, before surviving dramatic last-lap contact with Arden’s Alex Connor down The Avenue in the wet reverse grid race.

He then rounded out a near-perfect weekend with a lights-to-flag victory from pole in the finale to completely turn the title battle on its head.

Zak O’Sullivan (Carlin) had been the in-form man early doors, and remains Browning’s closest challenger, but has seen an 18-point lead transform into a 22-point deficit in the blink of an eye, and will need a response in Fife this time out.

He banked two podiums – second to Browning in race one and third in the final race – to mitigate the damage and sits comfortably clear of a close scrap for third through sixth in the standings.

Connor currently leads that hotly-contested race for the bronze medal position at the moment despite the disappointment of missing out on a second career win in Cheshire, but just six points covers himself, Casper Stevenson (Argenti), JHR’s James Hedley and Fortec’s Roberto Faria.

Stevenson had a morale-boosting run at Oulton to a brace of podiums, and remains the only driver to score points in each of the nine rounds to date, so the trip to Knockhill could prove an important springboard to kick start his championship bid.

Carlin’s Christian Mansell still leads the Rookie honours and sits seventh outright, with a 38-point lead in class over a resurgent Frederick Lubin, two class victories in Cheshire moving the YRDA-backed racer to within striking range.

The final of three ‘Red Arrows’ at Arden, Roman Bilinski, also arrives in good spirits after a first podium in the series in that thrilling wet-weather scuffle, making him the tenth different driver to stand on the rostrum so far this year – the same number as the entire 2019 season combined.

He current holds a three-point margin over JHR’s Abbi Pulling in the battle for eighth spot, the latter adding another solid points haul last weekend to take another stride towards the sharp end of the standings.

The battle for every point has been thrilling in 2020, and as a result Matias Zagazeta (Carlin), Nico Pino (Argenti), Nat Hodgkiss (JHR) – who races under the Scottish saltire in reference to his Mother’s heritage – and Reema Juffali (Argenti) are all blanketed by just 15 points for eleventh through fourteenth overall.

The grid is bolstered by the return of Rafael Villagomez this weekend in the final Fortec challenger.