BRITISH F4 TITLE RACE HOTS UP FURTHER AFTER THRILLING KNOCKHILL WEEKEND
Six races to go and the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost title fight has been blown wide open after a dramatic triple-header at Knockhill, Fife last weekend [14-15 September].
Points leader Zane Maloney (Carlin) arrived in Scotland with a comfortable 37-point margin over Double R Racing’s Sebastian Alvarez and extended that advantage to 47 after converting pole position to victory in the opening contest on Saturday.
Damage in the second race dropped the BRDC Rising Star back through the pack from fourth to eighth at the chequered flag, and a broken driveshaft on the formation lap of the ITV4-televised finale prevented Maloney from taking up pole position or being classified once back out on track.
Chief rival Alvarez made no mistake amid the disruption, taking a brace of second-place finishes to close to within 15 points of Maloney heading to Silverstone and Brands Hatch.
Despite the frustration in terms of the overall championship for Maloney, he did secure the Rookie Cup title after race two, second place in that contest enough to put the class crown beyond the reach of his rivals.
The other overall race victories went the way of Alvarez’s teammate, Louis Foster, and Carter Williams (JHR), the American making it three wins in his last six starts.
Williams is now the lowest-placed driver in with a mathematical chance of taking the title, with those below the top six in the standings now eliminated from the running.
For Foster, victory in the finale marked a first return to the winner’s circle since Donington Park in April, and keeps the former Ginetta star in the mix at the sharp end.
Another ‘one to watch’ in the title run-in will be Josh Skelton, with the Motorsport UK Academy member extending his run of consecutive podium finishes to eight on the bounce, twice third and once second at Knockhill.
That puts the JHR driver third overall, 60.5 points behind Maloney with a maximum score of 150 markers still available over the final six races.
Away from the title contenders, Richardson Racing’s Luke Browning put in a consistent showing to score well in each of the three races, with two fourth-place finishes the highlight of his weekend.
Exclusion from qualifying, along with Fortec and Richardson, put Arden Motorsport’s contenders uncharacteristically far back; Bart Horsten had claimed pole position prior to that, but the Red Arrows came out fighting in race trim.
Tommy Foster led their charge in terms of overall results with three top-eight finishes, whilst Alex Connor was twice a victor in the Rookie Cup stakes.
Bart Horsten fought his way forward across all three races to maintain fifth overall in the standings.
If the racing at the very front was thrilling for the home crowd, the battle for the final points-paying positions was as equally well-contested.
Roberto Faria (Fortec Motorsport) registered a season-best finish of fifth in the opener; teammate Mariano Martinez was an unfortunate retiree on all three occasions, but showed strong pace and will undoubtedly continue his consistent points-scoring form again at Silverstone.
Abbie Munro (Arden) acquitted herself well on her debut in the Ford EcoBoost-powered category, banking points across all three races, whilst Reema Juffali (Double R) put in another positive showing and equalled her best result of the campaign with eighth in the finale.
As the clock continues to tick towards Finals Day, it’s getting tough at the top. Six races to go – next up, Silverstone…