Hitech GP’s Alex Dunne took his third win of the season at Brands Hatch to extend his early lead in the ROKiT British F4 Championship, certified by the FIA.
It turned out to be a day of two halves for champions leader Dunne. After securing his first Omologato pole position and then converting it in an unparalleled way in the opening race, a gear shift problem in the second forced him to go three laps down the pit lane and out of the points.
In his absence, a string of podium finishes for Carlin’s Ollie Gray – third and then second – has narrowed the margin between the pair in the standings to 33 points.
Shin’s triumph marks his first single-seat win, and the first for Virtuosi Racing in Great Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series, and was won from the front despite long pressure from Gray and his Carlin teammate Louis Sharp, who marks his debut with a trip to the stage.
R1: Lights-to-flag win confirms Dunne’s early lead
After taking pole position in a red flag-interrupted qualifying session, Dunne had a clear path for the weekend’s first run to Paddock Hill Bend, and his task was made easier after his closest rival Aiden Neate came to a stop from the front row came.
That gave the Irish teenager the chance to build an early lead over battling JHR pair Georgi Dimitrov and Joseph Loake, although the former would receive a 10-second time penalty for a false start and disappear from view.
At the flag, Dunne was 6.6 seconds ahead of Loake, with Gray winning in a full Carlin battle with McLaren junior Ugo Ugochukwu for the final step on the podium.
“I’m very happy”, said a delighted Dunne in parc ferme. “The team is doing an incredible job. I can’t figure it out, to be honest. It’s going so well.
“I was pretty confused coming out of Turn 1 because I couldn’t see Aiden in my mirrors so I assumed he was stopping. And then I realized I had a hole. So I dropped my head and tried to build that gap in some good laps.”
Gray also admitted that the fight with Ugochukwu took too much of his tires to challenge Loake for second, explaining: “After that [fight] I just managed the tires. I got close to Joseph at one point and then fell back to the I saw how early Georgi went with the lights still on so obviously he didn’t get on the podium, it’s a shame but I’m happy with the result.”
Shin rounded out the top five for Virtuosi, ahead of penalized Dimitrov and Virtuosi teammate Edward Pearson, the points paying positions filled by Oliver Stewart (Hitech), Noah Lisle (JHR) and Louis Sharp (Carlin) on the debut.
R2: Michael Shin gives Virtuosi Racing their first win
South Korean racer Shin started from pole on a partially inverted starting grid and made the better break for fellow starter Louis Sharp, resisting pressure from Sharp and fellow Carlin driver Oliver Gray to take his first single-seater career win. achieve.
“I was so in the moment with that drive, I still can’t quite believe I did it. I’m so happy,” Shin exclaimed. “I got into a really good rhythm. I already knew that looking in the mirrors wouldn’t help. All I had to do was focus on what I needed to do to drive fast and somehow I managed to do that successfully.”
Oliver Gray started fifth but made quick progress on the field sending two cars on the run to Paddock before sending a move around the outside of Sharp at Druids to annex second on the road.
Though the pair were inseparable during Shin’s chase, and defended against Hitech GP’s Eduardo Coseteng, Gray had enough on Sharp to decide the battle for second in his favor.
“It was a good launch, I managed to make my way through the middle and get to P3 before the first corner and then send it around the outside of Louis to P2.” Gray remembers. “I was aware that I had already scored good points, so I didn’t push too hard to get Michael because it would have really caused a fight and I could have lost these points.”
Despite being passed by Gray, Sharp also has reason to celebrate, with a podium finish on his ROKiT British F4 debut. “I think we had a really good pace and I definitely think we were maybe even faster than the two in front of us. But unfortunately Ollie got me at the start so I dropped back to third and I couldn’t quite get them. †
One gear shift problem for Dunne was the eventual diagnosis of his early retirement, which gave some momentum to those pursuing the title fight, particularly Gray, alongside whom he will start on Sunday in tomorrow’s ITV televised final race.
Coseteng ran steadily for fourth, with a lively battle for fifth behind him. Ugochukwu held out, first against Loake, then Daniel Guinchard (Argenti) as the former walked into Graham Hill Bend, also sealing the Rookie Cup victory.
Loake eventually finished seventh, followed by teammate Georgi Dimitrov, Stewart and Neate.
The weekend continues tomorrow (15 May) with the ITV broadcast final to wrap up the weekend at 2:50 PM (BST)
For full race results, click here.
images © Jakob Ebrey Photography