Higgins becomes 1st 2023 repeat pole setter – Kanato Le wins Race One
After a tense back and forth trade-off at the top of today’s Oulton Park timesheets, it was Fortec’s James Higgins who ultimately set the fastest time in qualifying in the ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA. Deagen Fairclough (JHR Developments) set the initial session marker and was sitting proud at the top of the screens at the mid-point of the 20-minute session. Kanato Le (Hitech Pulse-Eight), Aqil Alibhai (Virtuosi Racing) and Higgins then took turns to be quicker, with Higgins shaving a further 0.054 seconds off the time on his final flying lap to secure his second Omologato Pole Position Award of the year, wearing both of his prize watches in celebration.
The top three were separated by just 0.072 seconds, with each of the top eight bettering the lap record and the top 17 all lapping with less than a one-second difference. Kanato Le secured the other front row position with Dion Gowda (Rodin Carlin) and Aiden Neate (Fortec Motorsport) on row two for tomorrow’s Race Three.
The Oulton Park Race One comprised a grid determined by second fastest lap times in qualifying, had Higgins start from P1 alongside Le, with Alibhai and Neate behind. A great start for Le saw grab the lead by turn one. The race was interrupted at the start of lap three by a red flag to recover stranded cars following an incident involving Gabriel Stilp (Hitech Pulse-Eight) and Isaac Barashi (Phinsys by Argenti). From second place, Higgins, who had trouble getting off the line, lost ground not just to Le, but allowed Alibhai and Neate past for into P2 and P3 respectively.
When the race was restarted, Fairclough gained two places, adding to the two he had gained in the curtailed first part, and putting him in contention for a podium position. Le posted a fastest lap and then bettered it to secure the Motul Fastest Lap Award. A mistake by Neate, with five minutes on the clock, caused his retirement, allowing Fairclough to secure third, a five-place gain from his starting slot.
Louis Sharp’s fourth place position scored him points that extended his championship lead. Gustav Jonsson scored maximum Rookie Cup points to extend his margin at the top of the table.