OULTON PARK SETS THE STAGE FOR NEXT CHAPTER IN THRILLING 2020 TITLE FIGHT
Zak O’Sullivan continues to grab the headlines in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost title fight, but can’t afford any complacency as the series heads to Oulton Park, Cheshire this weekend [22-23 August].
The 15-year old Carlin racer has already amassed three victories in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series in his debut year, including an emphatic ‘lights to flag’ double at Brands Hatch (GP) a fortnight ago, but Luke Browning’s consistency has kept the sophomore contender on O’Sullivan’s heels, 18 points back.
The Fortec racer will be hoping his local event – Browning is based in nearby Kingsley – will yield a first victory of 2020 to aid his charge towards O’Sullivan, having finished as runner-up twice apiece at the first two events.
Arden’s Alex Connor will be hoping for a strong triple header to keep pace with the top two, 15 points behind Browning, but also needs to be mindful of Fortec’s Roberto Faria, who sits just two markers back in fourth overall.
Faria heads to the 2.2-mile Island circuit in good form, banking a career-best finish of second in the reverse-grid contest at Brands GP, half a second adrift of winner Christian Mansell (Carlin).
Mansell’s maiden win was one of the ‘feel-good’ stories of a scorching weekend in Kent, elevating the Australian into the top five in the standings and netting him the Ford Super Rookie Award, and with it £5,000 for becoming the first Rookie Cup entrant to win a race outright in 2020.
His hat-trick of wins in class have also elevated him to top spot in the Rookie Cup standings, 27 points clear of Carlin team mate Matias Zagazeta after six rounds.
Casper Stevenson (Argenti) arrives at Oulton Park sixth overall, and with the enviable statistic of being the only driver left in the 2020 field to have scored points in each of the six races so far.
The scholarship winner already has one podium to his name – second place in the middle contest at the Donington Park season opener – but is hoping to turn in a few more headline results this time around.
JHR’s James Hedley will be looking to bounce back after a weekend at Brands GP littered with mechanical problems; the BRDC Rising Star was forced to miss both qualifying and the opening race, but his pace to cut through the field from last and score points in races two and three will give him a boost and he should be one to watch.
His team mates Abbi Pulling and Nat Hodgkiss both have reason to be buoyant heading to Cheshire, with a maiden podium and points respectively last time out to boost their confidence.
Another driver arriving on a high will be Roman Bilinski (Arden); the Polish racer demonstrated some sublime defensive driving in the opening two rounds at Brands, before banking a career-best fifth in the ITV4-televised finale.
Team mate Frederick Lubin (Arden) found the triple-header in the ‘Garden of England’ difficult by his own admission, but rounded out the weekend with a Rookie Cup podium to keep himself within striking distance in the class battle.
Nico Pino (Argenti) showed flashes of his potential with a strong qualifying and some good race craft at Brands Hatch, but bad luck hampered his weekend.
Reema Juffali (Argenti) continues to thrill the televised crowd with some sublime battles, and will be aiming for a return to the points at Oulton Park.
Rafael Villagomez (Fortec) will be absent this weekend as he fulfils his pre-planned commitments in the French F4 Championship at Nogaro.
The competitive actions begins with qualifying at 09:05 on Saturday ahead of the opening race at 14:15.
Sunday features a double header, both televised live on ITV4, with lights out at 13:00 and 17:45.