McLaren junior Ugochukwu storms to debut pole position

Carlin’s Ugo Ugochukwu won out in a thrilling battle for the first pole position of the ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA’s new era at Donington Park, beating Hitech GP’s Alex Dunne by a slender 0.022-second margin.

Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

It would be series newcomer Dunne and Ugochukwu’s Carlin team-mate Oliver Gray that traded provisional pole as lap times fell throughout the first half of the session, with Ugochukwu and the Phinsys by Argenti pairing of Aiden Neate and Daniel Guinchard waiting in the wings.

Initially, it looked as though Gray would be the most likely challenger to Dunne’s supremacy, the Williams Racing Academy driver able to shave a tenth off the 0.3s deficit on the first flying effort of his second run, and going faster still.

However, two personal bests and then an outright best in the final sector was enough to promote Ugochukwu to the front row, and from there it was a two-horse race between the 15-year-old, celebrating his birthday today, and Dunne.

Twice Dunne lowered his benchmark time, eventually resting on a 1:05.160, but in the final seconds of the session, Ugochukwu bettered his lap, going just 0.022s faster to claim his first single seater pole position on debut, and the first of ROKiT British F4’s exciting new chapter.

Gray eventually slipped to fourth after late improvements for practice pace-setter Neate, with Hitech GP’s Eduardo Coseteng, another sophomore driver, rounding out the top five. Mercedes junior Daniel Guinchard was sixth-quickest in the second of the Argenti challengers.

Virtuosi Racing’s Michael Shin was an impressive seventh on his first competitive outing in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series, with team-mate Edward Pearson in close company, lining up ninth behind JHR Developments’ Joseph Loake.

Georgi Dimitrov was tenth for JHR and in doing so secures the reverse grid pole position for the opening race on Sunday, with just one second covering the top ten runners in an ultra-competitive session.

Chris Dittmann Racing’s Joel Pearson came agonisingly close to that reverse grid pole in eleventh, one tenth behind Dimitrov, with Noah Lisle (JHR), Oliver Stewart (Hitech GP), Adam Fitzgerald (Argenti) and Daniel Mavlyutov (Hitech GP) rounding out the field.

The opening round of the 2022 ROKiT British F4 season takes place later today (23 April) at Donington Park, with lights out at 15:00 (BST).

For full session results, click here.

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