Loake resists late Ugochukwu charge to win reverse grid contest

JHR Developments’ Joseph Loake made a blistering start and, for the second weekend in a row, claimed victory in the ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA with a reverse grid win at Snetterton.

Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Starting third behind pole-sitter Oliver Stewart (Hitech) and Carlin’s Louis Sharp, Loake made the best getaway of the trio but, despite darting left and right, could find no way past into Riches and had to settle in behind the battling pair.

Both went wide at the Wilson Hairpin moments later, however, giving Loake the perfect opportunity to hug the inside line and move into the race lead. Ugo Ugochukwu (Carlin) and Daniel Guinchard (Argenti) followed him through into second and third respectively, but as they started to battle, it not only brought Sharp back into the mix, but let Loake escape almost three seconds up the road.

As the race wore on, Ugochukwu began to reduce Loake’s lead lap-on-lap, but the Macclesfield racer responded and stabilised the gap at around a second, taking the chequered flag to secure a fifth career win in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series. Ugochukwu was second, with Guinchard third after keeping Sharp at arm’s length.

“It was one of those races where you’re just basically managing the gap,” reflected Loake. “I’ve had quite a few of them now in this championship, which is pretty nice I’ve got to say.

“I got the gap straightaway at the start while they were still battling behind me, and then it was pretty much just saving the tyres by making sure that I had them there when I needed them, which is exactly what I did.”

“Overall, a pretty good race,” was Ugochukwu’s verdict. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have the cleanest qualifying in traffic, so I wasn’t able to set a good lap time, and was kind of disappointed. Well, starting from P4 in the reverse grid, I knew I had some chance to get a podium.

“I managed to get P2 at the start on the inside and was just pushing as much as possible. Joseph got away at the beginning, but then I was starting to catch him back up. There weren’t quite enough laps. I’m quite happy with second and want to thank Carlin for their hard work this weekend.”

Stewart rallied to score a top-five finish, the Scot continuing to mix it at the front of the field in pursuit of his maiden silverware. Perhaps crucially for the championship, Dunne finished ahead of Gray on track, although both improved to take sixth and seventh positions respectively.

Eduardo Coseteng (Hitech) maintained eighth to take the final points-paying position, the Filipino racer clear of a close battle between Aiden Neate (Argenti) and Dimitrov at the foot of the top ten.

Sherwood ended his debut day in the championship with an improved run to 11th, with Shin, Lisle, Pearson, Mavlyutov, Nandan and Fitzgerald rounding out the field.

The weekend at Snetterton concludes with one further, ITV4-televised race at 15:05 (BST) tomorrow (14 August).

To view the race result, click here.

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