Hitech GP’s Alex Dunne took a controlled victory in the opening round of the 2022 ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA at Donington Park, keeping the Carlin duo of Oliver Gray and Ugo Ugochukwu at arm’s length.
After jumping polesitter Ugochukwu on the run down to the first corner, the Irish racer was never again headed at the front of the field, gradually stretching his legs to pull out an eventual 4.5-second margin at the chequered flag, and deliver victory on both his and Hitech’s debut outing in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series.
In his absence, the battle for second spot between two Formula 1 junior drivers took center stage. Having followed Dunne through at the start to assume second on the road, Gray found it harder to escape the attention of his team-mate Ugochukwu, with the gap ebbing and flowing between the pair over the course of the 20-minute contest.
Ugochukwu looked – briefly – to have an opportunity to strike into Redgate on the final tour, but a real chance to pass never materialised, and the 15-year-old was forced to settle for the final spot on the rostrum, with the bonus point for setting the Motul Fastest Lap.
Aiden Neate (Phinsys by Argenti) kept a watching brief on the pair ahead but had to settle for fourth on the road, with a 2-second buffer in turn over fifth-placed Joseph Loake (JHR Developments).
Eduardo Coseteng (Hitech) put in arguably the drive of the race to recover from a stall off the line to finish sixth. Having picked his way back through in the opening laps to the foot of the top ten, the Filipino made Redgate a happy hunting ground, dispatching both Virtuosi Racing’s Michael Shin and Daniel Guinchard (Argenti) to move into seventh.
One final move past JHR’s Georgi Dimitrov at McLeans completed a stellar return to the top six; but for that stall, Coseteng clearly had the pace to challenge higher up the order. He finished ahead of Edward Pearson (Virtuosi) and Guinchard in a near dead-heat at the flag, the pair behind settling for seventh and eighth respectively.
Reigning champions JHR made it all three cars in the top ten to kick off their title defence, Dimitrov eventually resting in ninth ahead of Noah Lisle, who was promoted into the top ten as a result of a wide moment at Coppice for Shin.
The South Korean racer eventually finished 13th, behind Oliver Stewart (Hitech) and Adam Fitzgerald (Argenti), and ahead of a battling Joel Pearson (Chris Dittmann Racing) and Daniel Mavlyutov (Hitech GP).
The weekend continues with the reverse grid race at 09:45 (BST) on Sunday morning, with the ITV4-televised finale to the weekend later at 15:20.
For full race results, click here.