Dunne races clear to victory in reverse grid contest
Hitech GP’s Alex Dunne ended a tricky day on the top step of the podium after storming clear to win the partially reversed second ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA race of the weekend at Croft.
The Irishman lined up second, but his task was made easier by an unfortunate stall for JHR’s Georgi Dimitrov, the British-Bulgarian racer failing to get away, handing Dunne a clear road ahead down to Clervaux.
From there, he went unchallenged en route to victory, stretching his legs to record a seventh win of the 2022 season by just over 4 seconds.
“I was close to stalling myself, to be honest,” admitted Dunne. “I was quite lucky. I wasn’t sure how the race was going to go, with the problems we had in qualifying and race one. I wasn’t sure if we were going to be back to the way we were and possibly drive away, or if it would be a tough race.
“I’m glad we managed to get some good points and salvage something from the weekend.”
The battle behind Dunne, however, was nothing short of gripping. His Hitech GP team-mate Oliver Stewart, chasing a first podium, defended valiantly for almost the entire race distance ahead of Loake and a charging Gray, up from eighth on the grid to fourth.
It all ended in heartbreak, however, a problem with the car just a few laps from home causing the Scot to slow on the main straight, with both Loake and Gray moving past to occupy the second and third steps on the podium respectively. Gray tried to force an error, but had to settle for third, the pair just a second apart at the chequered flag.
“I think he [Stewart] had an issue coming through Sunny Out, it seemed like a gearbox issue from what I could see,” says Loake. “I think it’s about time we got some luck this year, we’ll take what we can get and I’m quite happy with it.”
Gray went on to say, “We’ve conserved our better tyres for tomorrow, and Joseph had his better ones. I sort of had the advantage towards the start, just raw pace, but his tyres helped him out towards the end”.
Neate rounded out a strong day with a somewhat fortuitous fourth place, the Brit taking full advantage of a collision between Ugo Ugochukwu and Eduardo Coseteng (Hitech) at the hairpin to move through and break clear.
Noah Lisle (JHR) similarly profited, the Australian taking fifth and a first win in the Rookie Cup. Louis Sharp was left facing the wrong way after contact at the hairpin at the end of the opening lap but recovered in style to rise from 13th to sixth and maintain his recent run of form.
Coseteng also recovered strongly, the Filipino making his way back through to register seventh, the points scorers rounded out by Virtuosi Racing’s Edward Pearson.
Guinchard was ninth with a damaged front wing after the contact with Sharp, with Joel Pearson (Chris Dittmann Racing) and Adam Fitzgerald (Argenti) the only two other drivers to finish on the lead lap. Daniel Mavlyutov (Hitech), Ugochukwu and Stewart were the last classified finishers, with Dimitrov and Michael Shin (Virtuosi) retiring, the latter with suspension damage.
Results from the race still remain provisional, view them here.