Gray triumphs after thrilling Silverstone qualifying

Carlin’s Oliver Gray scored his first Omologato Pole Position of the 2022 ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA season at Silverstone this morning [24 September].

Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

The Williams F1 junior started one of the most competitive qualifying sessions of the season as the first driver to post a sub-55 second lap time and continued to improve out front, before a red flag at half distance for Daniel Mavlyutov’s stranded Hitech in the gravel at Copse halted the action.

When it resumed, championship leader Alex Dunne (Hitech) came to the fore, aiming to out-qualify Ollie Gray and maximise his chances of taking the coveted crown in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series this weekend, the gap between them 106 points.

Lap-on-lap, the picture changed out front, the pair also having to contend with a hard-charging Joseph Loake (JHR). Loake looked on course to upset the party, before Dunne, then Gray, improved again to re-claim the front row.

Ultimately, it was Gray with the bragging rights, his quickest time of 54.252 seconds enough to beat Dunne by just 0.026 seconds, with Loake a further eight thousandths back. On second-fastest times for race three, Gray was once again clear out front, with Loake and Dunne inverted for second and third respectively.

Phinsys by Argenti’s Aiden Neate came out on top of a similarly tense scrap for fourth and fifth with Carlin’s Louis Sharp, the duo split by a mere 0.032s, with Ugochukwu sixth. The McLaren protégé had briefly threatened Gray during the opening minutes but slipped back as the session wore on.

He will, however, start just ahead of his Rookie Cup rival Daniel Guinchard (Argenti), the Mercedes-AMG junior seventh, and sporting a bold new Phinsys-inspired blue livery for the final two events of the season.

Eduardo Coseteng (Hitech) led Georgi Dimitrov (JHR) in eighth and ninth, the top ten completed by Oliver Stewart. Stewart, fresh from a maiden victory at Thruxton last time out, will be eyeing similar success from reverse grid pole on Sunday morning.

Noah Lisle (JHR) and Michael Shin (Virtuosi) will share the sixth row of the grid, with James Higgins a notable 13th for Fortec Motorsport on debut, the team also making a long-awaited return to the category.

That puts him just ahead of team mate Marcos Flack, the Australian hampered by track limits infringements and the timing of the red flag. Adam Fitzgerald (Argenti) was next, completing the 15 fastest runners.

Ginetta graduates Edward Pearson (Virtuosi) and Jack Sherwood (Chris Dittmann Racing) will start together in 16th and 17th, with two newcomers – Argenti’s Isaac Barashi and CDR’s Jaden Pariat – next with Mavlyutov to complete the field.

The opening race of the weekend in Northamptonshire is scheduled to get underway at 15:50 (BST).

Results remain provisional, click here to view.

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