Louis Sharp retakes championship lead with double podium

Rodin Carlin’s Louis Sharp is back on top of the ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA drivers’ championship standings after a no-nonsense Saturday showing at Donington Park’s GP circuit.

A victory and P3 in today’s two races of ROKiT British F4 were enough to give Sharp a slender advantage in the championship over title rival Will Macintyre from Hitech Pulse Eight.

The Kiwi went into this weekend 28 points behind Macintyre, but a race win and a third place mean he’s now four points ahead of the Brit.

Elsewhere, Rodin Carlin’s Dion Gowda claimed his fourth win of the season in Race 2, which was a rerun of the voided Round 7 from Snetterton earlier in the season, featuring only the drivers who lined up on that grid back in May.

After setting the quickest time in both practice sessions on Thursday, Fortec Motorsport’s Mika Abrahams continued in the same vein by topping the timesheets in qualifying to claim his first ever Omologato Pole Position award by less than two tenths of a second, securing the accompanying and coveted Omologato watch in the process.

As Sharp qualified second, Macintyre could only muster 14th after running wide and beaching his car with five minutes of the Qualifying session remaining.

By the time the grid lined up for Race 1 (Round 25), the track was drying from an earlier downpour, with the racing line side drier than the other.

This had an immediate impact from lights out, as Abrahams struggled off the start line, allowing Sharp to take advantage.

A safety car was required after an incident between Argenti’s drivers, Isaac Barashi and British F4 newcomer Alvise Rodella, which kept the field bunched up, however upon restarting Sharp was able to maintain a gap from Abrahams and guide his Rodin Carlin car home for the win. Macintyre climbed to 9th, limiting some potential championship damage and claiming valuable points in the process. Abrahams had some consolation in securing the Motul Fastest Lap award of an additional championship point.

In Race 2, as polesitter Dion Gowda of Rodin Carlin pulled away from the start, Hitech Pulse Eight’s Kanato Le and Will Macintyre manoeuvred past Sharp on the opening lap. But Sharp fought back, first making his way by Macintyre and then pulling an incredible move on Le on lap 5 to retake second place.

Remarkably, Sharp, Macintyre and Le all received five-second penalties late on, allowing Fortec’s James Higgins to secure a surprise P2 on the podium.

Gowda wrapped up a lights-to-flag charge in his fourth win of the season, while Sharp’s penalty dropped him to P3, crucially three places ahead of Macintyre, to round off a successful day as the title race swung back in his favour.

Elsewhere, Gustav Jonsson snatched the lead in the Rookie championship with two superb races, claiming an overall P3 in Race 1 and following this with a fantastic drive from last position in Race 2 to fifth overall, again standing proud at the top of the Rookie podium. Gustav also picked up the Motul Fastest Lap award and accompanying championship point in Race 2.

Debutants Freddie Slater and Tom Mills finished fourth and 11th respectively in Race 1 to seal solid starts to their British F4 campaigns. Neither were eligible to race in the repeated Snetterton round.

There’s two more races tomorrow on Donington’s GP track, with ROKiT British F4 lining up on the grid at 1055hours and 1600 hours respectively. The latter of the two races will be featured in ITV4’s live race coverage, which commences at 1115 hours.

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*Results provisional until finalised

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