Preview: Ford’s rising stars set for crucial Snetterton triple-header

With six races to go, and five drivers still in contention for the crown, the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost visits Snetterton, Norfolk, this weekend [24-25 October] for a crucial triple-header in the 2020 title fight.

Luke Browning (Fortec) arrives with a 13-point lead over closest challenger Zak O’Sullivan and will be looking to halt the Carlin racer’s momentum; a sixth victory of the campaign plus a further podium last time out at Croft has put O’Sullivan within striking range of top spot.

Both will need to be wary, however, with third-placed Casper Stevenson closing in; the Argenti Motorsport racer has taken victories in successive meetings, and a podium finish in the opening race on Saturday will see him set a record-breaking tenth trip to the rostrum in a row.

He sits just 33 points back from Browning, and with momentum on his side, results this weekend could be crucial as he looks to move himself into contention on Finals Day.

For the other two drivers still in mathematical contention – JHR’s James Hedley (-94) and Arden’s Alex Connor (-99) – Snetterton is a ‘make or break’ weekend for their title bids.

Both have shone at times in 2020, such as Hedley’s Thruxton hat-trick and Connor’s masterful drives at Donington Park and Silverstone, and the pair will need a repeat performance – plus a slice of bad luck for the trio ahead – to get themselves back in the mix.

Browning can, of course, theoretically seal the crown at Snetterton, but will require an unlikely 76-point lead or greater by the end of Sunday’s action to do so, meaning once again the title fight in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series is set to go down to the wire at Brands Hatch.

Such is the strength in depth of competition amongst Ford’s rising stars this season, the leading quintet will need to keep one eye on the chasing pack behind.

JHR’s Abbi Pulling will be keen to add to her trio of podium finishes after bringing home more silverware in Yorkshire, and Arden’s Roman Bilinski will no doubt be eyeing a return to the rostrum as the pair debate sixth overall in the points.

Carlin’s Christian Mansell could wrap up the Rookie Cup title a round early at Snetterton, but with the final ‘Red Arrow’, Frederick Lubin (Arden), on his case, the Australian will need to be on top form to secure the honours.

The pair split the class victories at Croft, and Lubin marginally narrowed the gap between them down to 43 points; the Brit will be aiming for a repeat to take their battle down to the wire.

Carlin’s Matias Zagazeta added an impressive tenth Rookie podium of the season to his CV at Croft, and remains in contention, but will need a strong weekend to keep himself in the reckoning.

His on-circuit battles with the second Argenti challenger of Reema Juffali were nothing short of thrilling at Croft, with the pair – and rapid Mexican Rafael Villagomez – set to thrill the ITV4 audience yet again this weekend.

Browning and O’Sullivan’s battle at the championship summit is reflected in the Teams Cup standings, with Fortec holding a narrow 7-point advantage heading into the final six races.

Crucially, they will be without Villagomez at the season finale, so maximising results around the 2.96-mile Norfolk circuit this time out will be crucial if they are to secure a maiden Teams’ title.

Qualifying (09:00) and the opening two races (12:40 & 15:35) kick off the competitive action on Saturday, with the final, ITV4-televised race on Sunday at 11:53 (GMT).