Mercedes junior Daniel Guinchard seizes his chance
Mercedes-AMG junior Daniel Guinchard become the second Formula 1 junior driver after Ugo Ugochukwu to score a maiden single-seater victory in the ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA this season, rising from fifth to win the partially reversed grid race at Oulton Park.
Starting from fifth, the Phinsys by Argenti racer made a lightning getaway to pass Carlin racer Ugochukwu and a slow-starting Adam Fitzgerald off the line, slotting in behind the JHR pairing of pole-sitter Joseph Loake and Noah Lisle in third.
From there, he kept his cool as trouble hit the leading duo; a spin for Lisle at Old Hall relegated the Australian to the tail end of the field, before a problem with the front-left tyre caused heartbreak on home soil for Loake, his two-second lead evaporating in an instant as he slowed and was forced to retire.
Once released, Guinchard never looked back and powered clear to register his maiden victory in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series by 3.6 seconds over Carlin pairing Louis Sharp and Ugochukwu, the former scoring a third consecutive podium.
“It was a perfect race,” said an elated Guinchard. “I made a really good start, had a strong first lap and from there it was a clean race with no mistakes, and everything came together for once.
“I think we’re getting there finally with the car, driving-wise, it’s all coming together slowly. So hopefully there will be many more wins.”
Ugochukwu had to absorb race-long pressure, however, with his Carlin team-mate Ollie Gray breathing down his neck for the duration of the 20-minute contest. The Williams protégé eventually had to settle for fourth, but for both, it was a great opportunity to reduce the arrears to Hitech racer Alex Dunne at the championship summit.
Dunne had made a strong start from tenth to run up in seventh at the end of the opening lap around the 2.2-mile Island circuit but spun at Cascades whilst chasing Gray and dropped to the back. Undeterred, the Irish teenager set about making a comeback.
He found it relatively plain sailing, until he reached an equally recovering Adam Fitzgerald, who put up a stoic defence of his ninth place. Although Dunne eventually found a way by his compatriot, he was unable to overhaul Edward Pearson (Virtuosi) ahead, despite applying pressure throughout the closing laps.
Fitzgerald in turn came under fire from his Argenti team-mate Aiden Neate for tenth spot, but held firm. Lisle eventually took 12th ahead of Daniel Mavlyutov (Hitech) and Michael Shin (Virtuosi), the South Korean forced to pit for a replacement front wing after the opening lap.
The same is true of Joel Pearson (Chris Dittmann Racing), who made a lightning start with the ITV on-board camera but lost his front wing under braking for the Island hairpin and was called in by officials to repair the damage.
The weekend concludes with the ITV4-televised final race at 17:45 (BST) this afternoon (12 June).
Click here to view the full race result.