Hitech GP driver Alex Dunne performed extremely well in the ROKiT F4 British Championship, certified by the FIA field. Dunne, like Saturday, was dominant after taking a comfortable light-to-flag win at Donington Park this afternoon.
The Irishman was announced as a Hitech GP driver for the opening lap only on Wednesday 20 April and he was in top form on Sunday. After winning Saturday’s first lap, Dunne took an excellent second in lap two, a reverse grid race where he started ninth, before backing it up with his second win in as many days with a 6-second win over Aiden Neate.
The result means he extends his early overall championship lead to 37 points over his closest rival Oliver Gray (Carlin), who finished third on the road behind Dunne and Neate.
On the second lap, the reverse grid race, Georgi Dimitrov took a fourth career win in Great Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series after coming out on top in a spirited battle in the late race, first with JHR Developments teammate Joseph Loake, then with Dunne, but on both occasions he held out.
R2: Dimitrov holds out after tense six-car battle for victory
Dimitrov started from pole position and made a good breakaway in the second race of the weekend on Sunday morning, his early lead over team-mate Loake stretching to a peak of 1.7 seconds in the opening trade.
Loake, however, rallied and closed the gap incrementally, before having two attempts to close the gap. The first, a look at the inside of the Roberts chicane, passed without incident, but attempting a pass at the same corner, this time on the outside, forced the Macclesfield racer to swing across the gravel and re-insert.
He briefly held on to second on the road, but was ejected shortly after by an onrushing Dunne, from ninth on the grid, on the inside of the line in Hollywood. As this was the last lap there was no chance of really fighting for the lead, and Dunne settled for second, 0.2 seconds adrift of a delighted Dimitrov.
“To achieve this result, I think it is a very uplifting moment,” said a cheerful Dimitrov in parc fermé. “And I think we need to continue with the same momentum and keep trying to make progress. Obviously we don’t want to be polesitters in the reverse grid races, but want to be positive in the feature races, but we will keep working, we improve, we make progress. And I think we have something that works.”
“My tires just went really bad towards the end,” he added, “I think that was a bit of a downside to our setup, but I really controlled the race at the start, pretty consistent pace. But yeah, I think we should just keep going and keep doing the same thing.”
Loake survived late contact with an up-and-coming Michael Shin (Virtuosi) at McLeans to round out the podium, the latter also set the Motul Fastest Lap on its way to a best fourth place finish on the weekend. Eduardo Coseteng completed the top five.
Daniel Guinchard (Argenti) had been eyeing the scrap of Dimitrov and Loake up front and fell back into late race action, but was still ahead of his previous day’s result in sixth.
Edward Pearson did well to recover from a starting block to finish seventh, his namesake Joel scored his first points of the season behind Chris Dittmann Racing in eighth.
Ugo Ugochukwu (Carlin) was another to struggle at the start, spending much of the race frustrated by Hitech’s Oliver Stewart, but eventually found his way around the outside at McLeans and led the Scot home in ninth and tenth.
Noah Lisle (JHR), Adam Fitzgerald (Argenti) and Daniel Mavlyutov rounded out the finishers, with Aiden Neate (Argenti) and Oliver Gray (Carlin) both having to stop after making contact at Redgate, causing a broken wing and flat tire. right rear arose respectively.
R3: Lights-to-flag triumph marks Dunne’s card as championship contender
In many ways, Dunne won the race in the first corner; having successfully fended off Neate’s attempt to pass through the outside in Redgate, the Hitech racer had clean air ahead of him, and a series of blistering laps ensured he was clear of any threat to the race lead.
Lap after lap the gap widened, eventually resting at 6 seconds by the time the checkered flag waved. Neate was able to hold off Gray to take second, scoring the best result of his career, with the Williams Racing Academy Driver in third.
“To be honest, I think I’ve lost the words, but I think the team is doing it perfectly,” said an ecstatic Dunne. “I’m doing pretty well too, and it’s a little bit of everything just fell into place, really.
“I think I made a small mistake from the start and Aiden managed to get next to me, so I had to defend in the first corner. But then I knew I had the car under me. I knew I just had to keep my head down and do something about this and focus on driving away. †
Despite being pleased with second place, Neate has stressed that there is plenty of work ahead for the Phinsys by Argenti team and himself to close the gap to the series’ newest star.
“I think it was the best we could achieve,” Neate admitted. “The win was unfortunately a bit out of reach. Alex and Hitech are doing well so we have to work hard to catch them and close the gap.
“Nevertheless, we have a very good race car among us, so it’s really just the fine details. I got next to Alex in turn one, but after that there wasn’t really much of a chance. †
The most exciting battle on the track was undoubtedly the skirmish for fourth place between Dunne’s Hitech teammate Eduardo Coseteng and Ugo Ugochukwu’s Carlin.
After dropping back to sixth at the start, Ugochukwu rallied and passed Loake again to move into fifth. He showed excellent pace in one lap to bring in Coseteng afterwards, but a great defensive drive from the Philippine racer ensured that a clear opportunity to pass never came to the McLaren junior behind.
Reverse Grid Race winner Dimitrov moved up to sixth from the bottom of the top ten but had to defend hard in a near photo finish with Virtuosi Racing’s Edward Pearson. Michael Shin was next in the other Virtuosi challenger, the South Korean racer who took a hat-trick of points on his debut.
Loake went on to finish ninth, beating Argenti’s Daniel Guinchard’s Phinsys by 0.7 seconds after a late race battle, while Hitech’s Oliver Stewart came out on top with JHR’s Noah Lisle and Chris Dittmann Racing’s Joel Pearson 11th, 12th respectively. and thirteenth.
Daniel Mavlyutov was next, with Adam Fitzgerald finishing a lap behind after having to pit early with a damaged front wing after tapping the car in front of him at Coppice.
After a three-week hiatus, Britain’s FIA Formula 4 Series heads to the Indy circuit at Brands Hatch on the weekend of May 14-15.
images © Jakob Ebrey Photography