Ugochukwu takes maiden win in wet-weather thriller

McLaren junior Ugo Ugochukwu triumphed in a wet-weather blockbuster, leading home a Carlin 1-2-3 finish in the final ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA race of the weekend at Brands Hatch.

Heading up the second row, Ugochukwu got off the line well, scything past a slow-starting Alex Dunne (Hitech GP) to run second behind team-mate Oliver Gray in the opening exchanges.

The gap between the pair ebbed and flowed until a mid-race safety car to retrieve Edward Pearson’s stranded Virtuosi Racing challenger at Druids closed the gap back up. Although Gray retained the lead at the restart, a wide moment into Clearways gave Ugochukwu an opportunity, and the American seized it with both hands, moving through on the inside line to take the lead.

From there, he expertly controlled the race in tricky conditions, which ended two minutes prematurely after JHR’s Noah Lisle went off at Clark Curve and got beached in the gravel. That confirmed Ugochukwu’s maiden win, with Gray classified as 5.1 seconds behind.

After a slow getaway, Dunne’s race went from bad to worse after a spin at Clearways whilst running third. That caused the field to scatter, and Louis Sharp was able to pick his way through the eye of the storm to round out the final spot on the podium, a fitting end to a promising debut for the Kiwi rising star.

Dunne dropped to P12 as a result of that incident, but undeterred the Irish talent pushed on and was able to claw his way back into the top five with a damaged front wing, before an off across the grass at Surtees removed the remnants of the wing, and forced him to pit for a new one. He eventually took the flag a lap down in 14th.

That result means his advantage at the championship summit has been reduced, with Gray’s podium moving him to within 15 points of his chief title rival after six rounds. Ugochukwu’s win elevates him to third overall, a further six markers back.

Joel Pearson (Chris Dittmann Racing) took a career-best fourth after surging through the field. The Brit took the chequered flag in sixth, a gain of eight places, before post-race time penalties for Daniel Guinchard (Argenti) and Oliver Stewart (Hitech) for false starts elevated him further up the order.

Aiden Neate survived a skirt across the grass at Graham Hill Bend to take fifth, with race two winner Michael Shin (Virtuosi) sixth to maintain his near-perfect points-scoring record in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series.

Guinchard and Stewart were eventually classified seventh and eighth, with Edward Pearson doing well to recover from his spin at Druids to claim ninth, Joseph Loake (JHR) rounding out the points-paying positions.

Georgi Dimitrov (JHR) and Adam Fitzgerald (Argenti) were next in 11th and 12th, with Coseteng eventually classified 13th after the result was counted back a lap, in accordance with the regulations.

The aforementioned Dunne and Daniel Mavlyutov (Hitech) round out the 15 cars to take the flag, with Lisle the sole retiree. ROKiT British F4 heads next to Thruxton, Hampshire over the weekend of 28-29 May.

To view the full race result, click here.

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