Dunne leads from lights-to-flag in Brands opener

Alex Dunne took a third victory of the season for Hitech GP in the first ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA race of the weekend at Brands Hatch, extending his early lead at the championship summit.

Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

The Irish teenager’s closest challenger, Aiden Neate (Phinsys by Argenti), stalled off the line, giving Dunne a clear run down to Paddock Hill Bend on the opening lap. After ending the first lap with a comfortable 1.3-second lead ahead of Georgi Dimitrov (JHR Developments), Dunne set about extending the gap to an eventual 6.6 seconds at the chequered flag.

A fast-starting Dimitrov would later be penalised with a false start penalty, adding ten seconds to his race time and dropping him back from second on the road to sixth in the adjusted results. The race start remains under post-race investigation, and all results are provisional. That meant his JHR team-mate Joseph Loake inherited second having kept the British-Bulgarian racer honest throughout, with Carlin’s Oliver Gray completing the podium.

Gray dispatched team-mate Ugo Ugochukwu on the opening lap to move into fourth and, despite race-long pressure from the McLaren junior, was able to keep him at arm’s length to stay on the same page as Dunne in the championship fight.

Virtuosi Racing’s Michael Shin put in arguably the drive of the race, moving up from the foot of the top ten on the grid to secure fifth. The South Korean racer will start on pole for the partially-reversed grid race later today at 17:10 (BST), and on this form will be eying up a first trip to the podium.

Shin was pushed all the way by team-mate Edward Pearson and Hitech GP’s Oliver Stewart, but comfortably clear of a thrilling scrap for the final points-paying positions. Eduardo Coseteng (Hitech GP) ran fifth early on but was forced to pit and retire, promoting a train of cars led by Noah Lisle (JHR) into positions ninth through 12th respectively.

Lap after lap, Lisle was forced to keep a watching brief on his mirrors, with Carlin’s Louis Sharp – eager to impress on debut – looking for a way by. A recovering Daniel Guinchard (Phinsys by Argenti) sought to improve his lot after fighting back to eleventh, after a slow start but, despite several ‘nearly moments’, the trio crossed the line in that order, and the Mercedes-AMG junior narrowly missed out on points for his efforts.

Aiden Neate fought back from his stall to take twelfth on the road, and at one stage in the race held the Motul fastest lap, although that honour eventually went the way of race-winner Dunne.

Adam Fitzgerald ensured the three Argenti challengers would finish line-a-stern in 13th, the finishers completed by Joel Pearson (Chris Dittmann Racing) and Daniel Mavlyutov (Hitech GP).

The weekend continues with Round 5 at 17:10 this evening (14 May). To view the full race result, click here.

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