Casper Stevenson held his nerve to take a lights-to-flag victory in the final race of the weekend at Croft and ignite the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost title fight.
The Argenti Motorsport racer saw off a challenge from Fortec’s Luke Browning on the run down to Clervaux on the opening lap, with Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan – the other chief title contender – slotting into third.
The action was halted on the opening tour of the 2.1-mile Yorkshire circuit after an off for Arden Motorsport’s Roman Bilinski, the Polish racer locking up and heading straight on at Clervaux, before skirting across the gravel and into the barrier.
That brought out the Ford Fiesta ST safety car, with more drama at the Complex after fourth-placed Alex Connor (Arden Motorsport) made contact with the rear of O’Sullivan’s car.
O’Sullivan was able to continue in third, but front-left suspension damage left Connor bound for the pit lane, and out of the race.
On the restart, Stevenson made a solid getaway, holding Browning and O’Sullivan at arm’s length, 0.3 seconds behind.
A dive to the inside at the Hairpin on the following lap put O’Sullivan alongside Browning, the pair running side-by-side down the main straight. O’Sullivan took the outside line into Clervaux and executed the cutback to perfection as Browning ran slightly wide and dropped back to third.
That battle gave Stevenson crucial breathing space, and he duly took the chequered flag 1.246 seconds clear to notch up his second victory of the season, and equal Josh Skelton’s record for nine consecutive podium finishes.
Browning came back at O’Sullivan in the closing stages but couldn’t force a mistake; the result means the Fortec racer now holds a 13-point advantage with six races left to run in 2020.
Abbi Pulling was a solid fourth in the leading JHR Developments challenger, with team mate James Hedley behind in fifth after a superb battle with Carlin’s Christian Mansell.
The Australian initially seized the upper hand through the chicane, but Hedley got the cutback on the exit of Tower to return the favour, and from there the BRDC Rising Star was able to get his head down and pull clear.
Mansell held sixth – and with it takes another crucial victory in the Rookie Cup stakes – but couldn’t afford any mistakes with chief rival Frederick Lubin seventh in the sole surviving Arden car.
The battle for eighth was arguably the best of the race, contested between Fortec’s Rafael Villagomez, Argenti’s Reema Juffali and Carlin’s Matias Zagazeta.
The trio ran nose-to-tail for the majority of the contest with Villagomez soaking up the pressure, but an unfortunate off-moment at Sunny Out put the Mexican out of the race, promoting Juffali to eighth – her first points in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series at Croft – with Zagazeta ninth, and rounding out the Rookie podium.
The F4 British Championship heads next to Snetterton, Norfolk, over the weekend of 24-25 October.
Provisional Result – Round 20
|1||Casper STEVENSON||Argenti Motorsport||15 laps|
|3||Luke BROWNING||Fortec Motorsport||+1.619s|
|4||Abbi PULLING||JHR Developments||+6.422s|
|5||James HEDLEY||JHR Developments||+7.061s|
|7||Frederick LUBIN||Arden Motorsport||+14.532s|
|8||Reema JUFFALI||Argenti Motorsport||+15.726s|
|DNF||Rafael VILLAGOMEZ||Fortec Motorsport||+4 laps|
|DNF||Alex CONNOR||Arden Motorsport||+14 laps|
|DNF||Roman BILINSKI||Arden Motorsport||+14 laps|