Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan compared the challenge of Knockhill to a “Scottish rollercoaster” as the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost makes it’s annual journey north of the Scottish border this weekend [29-30 August].
The 1.26-mile Fife circuit is an ever-present on Britain’s FIA Formula 4 calendar and popular among teams and drivers alike, characterised by it’s change in gradient, undulating corners, tricky chicanes and plenty of overtaking opportunities.
Erstwhile points leader O’Sullivan arrives second in the standings, having been shuffled back by hat-trick hero Luke Browning (Fortec) at Oulton Park last time out.
The 15-year old added another brace of podium finishes in Cheshire to cement his impressive start to the campaign – three victories and six podium finishes from his first nine starts – and only has a 22-point margin to make up to Browning heading into this weekend’s triple header.
He moved forward from the second row of the grid to finish runner-up to Browning in race one, and rounded out the podium in third during the ITV4-televised finale.
The intervening reverse grid race, held in tricky wet conditions, went less to plan; O’Sullivan bogged down at the start and a half-spin at Island Hairpin meant ninth was the most he could salvage.
“Oulton Park is similar to Brands Hatch in that it’s hard to overtake, and the positions at turn one on lap one are usually the same at the end of the race,” explains O’Sullivan.
“That’s pretty much what happened in both race one and three.
“Both of those races went to plan but the second race in the rain was a bit of an awkward one. I made a little mistake at the start but I’ll know what not to do next time!”
The Carlin protegee remains pragmatic about his title chances, with 17 races left to run before the end of the season in mid-November, and plenty of points still on the table.
“There are still 17 races to go and I am just focusing on every weekend as it comes,” says O’Sullivan.
“There’s no need to focus on the championship until the last round as there are 75 points available at every meeting and there’s a long way to go.”
Looking ahead to the challenge of Knockhill, O’Sullivan is aiming for a repeat of his form in Ginetta Juniors there last year, in which he banked a hat-trick of podiums finishes, once third and twice second in a highly-competitive year.
“Knockhill is like a little kart track – it’s a Scottish rollercoaster! I went well in Ginettas there last year, so I am looking forward to it,” added O’Sullivan.
“It will be the same approach again of trying to improve every day of the weekend and picking up as many points as I can.”