Dunne continues march towards title with dominant Snetterton win
Alex Dunne’s march towards the ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA title continued at Snetterton this afternoon (14 August), with a ninth victory of the season for the Hitech GP racer.
Having not always made the best of starts from a number of pole positions this year, today the Irishman made an error-free getaway to break clear of the field. Behind him, JHR’s Georgi Dimitrov overhauled Dunne’s closest rival in the standings, Ollie Gray, for second at Riches.
Their battle ebbed-and-flowed until Gray was able to re-pass Dimitrov on the brakes into the Wilson hairpin in the second half of the 20-minute contest, but by that stage Dunne had already extended his lead to over seven seconds and continued to lap consistently quicker than the rest of the field from the front.
Despite being released to chase down the race leader, Williams junior driver Gray couldn’t reel today’s pole sitter in, and took the chequered flag some ten seconds adrift of Dunne, who collected a ninth victory of the campaign in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series to extend his advantage to 66 points with nine races remaining.
“I think the pace was immense in this race,” said an elated Dunne after stepping off the podium. “I’m not really sure what the difference was because we haven’t really changed anything. I think we had the fastest lap by almost a second. The car was really good and everything was working well, and I guess we just suited these conditions a little bit more now that it’s got a little bit warmer. I’m really happy.
“Hitech are doing everything possible for me in there. They’re doing a perfect job and I couldn’t be happier with everybody in the team. And I’m really loving working with everyone in there.”
“After the first lap, I was just thinking about trying to minimise the damage,” admitted Gray. “A poor start from my side just put us on the back foot from lap one. I think we were quick – quicker than Georgi – but Alex still had a lot of pace on us today.
“It would have been a tough race even if I did get ahead of him [Dunne]. But other than that, I’m pretty happy. We were managing a little problem through that race as well, so I’m still happy to bring these points home.”
Dimitrov was a little disappointed to only collect third after another lightning getaway for the British-Bulgarian driver, but still leaves the 2.96-mile Norfolk circuit with his strongest points haul of the season thus far.
Hitech GP made it three of their four cars in the top five, Eduardo Coseteng and Oliver Stewart take fourth and fifth respectively. For Stewart, it marks another Rookie Cup win as he continues to edge closer to Ugo Ugochukwu (Carlin) and Daniel Guinchard (Argenti).
Both Guinchard and Ugochukwu were at the epicentre of a tumultuous battle for sixth. Initially held by Mercedes-AMG F1 junior Guinchard after surviving contact with Louis Sharp’s Carlin at the first corner, he spun defending from Ugochukwu into Nelson, and after rotating fully over the kerb he nearly collected race two winner Joseph Loake.
Some quick avoiding action from the JHR racer ensured he survived to fight another day, but Virtuosi Racing’s Michael Shin and a charging Jack Sherwood (Chris Dittmann Racing) were able to capitalise and get by.
Loake was able to re-pass Sherwood for eighth, but could do nothing to get back on terms with Ugochukwu and Shin ahead. Ninth still represents a career-best result for Sherwood and ends his debut weekend in ROKiT British F4 with a first top-ten finish.
Like Shin, Edward Pearson also had plenty of forward momentum, and was able to snatch the last point at Virtuosi Racing’s home event, taking tenth by 0.2 seconds ahead of JHR’s Noah Lisle. Phinsys by Argenti’s trio finished 12th, 13th and 14th, blanketed by just two seconds.
Fitzgerald takes the inter-team bragging rights on this occasion, with Guinchard behind after his spin and Aiden Neate also in strife after spinning at Agostini on the opening lap whilst battling with a damaged Sharp.
Sharp eventually finished last, almost a lap down, behind Daniel Mavlyutov (Hitech) and Divy Nandan (Chris Dittmann Racing).
ROKiT British F4 makes a return to the high-speed Thruxton Circuit next on 26-28 August.
To view the full race results and championship standings, click here.