DRAMATIC BRITISH F4 WEEKEND AT SILVERSTONE SET UP NAIL-BITING TITLE DECIDER
The F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost title fight will go down to the wire at Brands Hatch after a weekend of high drama at Silverstone, Northamptonshire.
Double R Racing’s Sebastian Alvarez outscored points leader Zane Maloney with second to the Carlin racer’s fifth in the opener around the 1.6-mile National circuit, before leading Maloney home in the reverse-grid contest to level their scores at 367 points apiece.
Running side-by-side down the Wellington Straight in the ITV4-televised final race disputing second position, Alvarez opted for the outside line into Brooklands, had to go wide over the wet grass and mud and contact was made with Maloney on the apex of Luffield, putting both drivers out in dramatic fashion.
That means the two chief title protagonists will head to Brands Hatch level at the top of the standings, but crucially Maloney cannot be caught on count back (8 wins versus 4 for Alvarez), making it in effect a three-race shootout for the crown.
Alvarez’s team mate Louis Foster, meanwhile, put in a near-perfect performance to claim a triple podium – including the Race 1 and 3 victories – to put himself back into title contention.
It could have been a clean sweep, but for unfortunate contact with JHR’s Carter Williams at Brooklands in race two; the Hampshire racer still charged back through from the back to register third in sublime fashion.
The BRDC Rising Star is now just 30 points adrift of Maloney and Alvarez’s scrap, with JHR’s Josh Skelton completing a quartet of drivers in with a mathematical chance of being crowned champion in Kent.
Foster’s efforts also went some way to securing a maiden Teams Cup title for Double R Racing, the Woking-based outfit now insurmountable after out-scoring JHR Developments in Northamptonshire.
The battle to round out the top five in the standings is equally as tense, with just 20 points covering Arden Motorsport’s Bart Horsten, JHR’s Williams and Richardson Racing’s Luke Browning.
Williams looked to have the upper hand with fourth in the opener as Horsten retired and Browning managed just eighth, but the contact at Brooklands and a spin at Becketts in the other two races handed the advantage back to Horsten.
The Australian put in a trademark drive through the field to fifth in race two, before claiming second amidst the chaos in race three to establish a 19.5-point buffer over the American heading to Brands Hatch.
Both should be wary, however, with Browning – ever strong in the mixed conditions – registering a hat-trick of solid points finishes, including a charge through to a first podium since Snetterton with third in race three, to move just half a point adrift of Williams.
Fortec Motorsport excelled in the wet conditions, with series newcomer Chris Lulham claiming a top-five finish, plus his first Rookie Cup win, on debut.
Roberto Faria registered a season-best result of fourth in the middle contest; Mariano Martinez looked certain for a first podium in the Ford EcoBoost-powered series, but for an unlucky spin at Becketts whilst chasing Arden’s Alex Connor.
Silverstone represented the latest step in a series of encouraging performances from the Mexican and, though there will be some frustration, a first trip to the podium is surely just around the corner.
Crucially for Faria, a DNF for Connor in that second race gives the Brazilian a buffer in the race for the Rookie Cup Vice-Champion honours, the gap to the Brit now 15.5 points.
Connor continues to take strides forward; he showed good composure to lead away from reverse-grid pole position and looked settled in third and on course for a maiden podium until unfortunate contact with Foster through Maggots sent the Red Arrow into the gravel.
His teammate Tommy Foster bounced back well from a race one retirement to take consistent points in the final two contests and secure eighth overall in the standings.
Every point is hard-won in Britain’s FIA-sanctioned Formula 4 series, but that will take on even more significance for Reema Juffali (Double R), Alex Walker (JHR), Abbie Munro (Arden) and Lulham, should he back in the seat for Brands Hatch.
Currently, the quartet are split by just 12 markers in the race for positions 13th through to 16th in the table; Juffali leads the pack by a single point and their battles have been thrilling of late.
Brands Hatch (GP) hosts arguably the closest title decider in the championship’s five-year history on 12-13 October.