Preview: Pendulum continues to swing as ROKiT British F4 hits Snetterton
Alex Dunne still leads but the gap at the top of the ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA standings continues to thin as the next generation of rising stars arrive at Snetterton this weekend.
Three different drivers – Joseph Loake, Georgi Dimitrov and Ugo Ugochukwu – shared the spoils at Knockhill a fortnight ago. Loake capitalised on a damp but dry qualifying to put his JHR-run car on the front row behind Ugochukwu. He then bested the McLaren junior off the line before going on to register his first win of the season.
Dimitrov similarly annexed the race lead at the start, although he was helped after pole-sitter Adam Fitzgerald spun on the lap to the grid, giving the British-Bulgarian driver a clear road ahead once he had fought off early competition from Hitech’s Oliver Stewart.
It was in the finale that the championship story took another twist, however. Dunne, with a podium and a solid haul of points in the two races so far that weekend, stalled from the front row, and subsequently picked up a damaged front wing and a puncture recovering further down the order.
That left his two chief title rivals Ugochukwu and Williams protégé Ollie Gray with, in effect, an ‘open goal’ to claw back ground in the championship. They finished line-a-stern to record a 1-2 finish for Carlin, a result that brings Gray to within 41 points of Dunne, eventually 14th and a lap down, at the summit.
But the Irish teenager has been the ‘one to beat’ at each of the six events thus far in 2022 and will undoubtedly be looking to add to his seven race wins around Snetterton’s technical, twisty 300 layout this weekend.
With over half the grid having now won a race in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series, the strength in depth of the competition has never been greater.
A whole host of rising stars, such as Carlin’s Louis Sharp, Argenti pairing Aiden Neate and Daniel Guinchard, and Dunne’s Hitech team-mate Eduardo Coseteng, have also proven themselves at the front and could yet throw a spanner in the works for the trio currently at the top.
Michael Shin will be aiming for a repeat of his front-running performances earlier in the campaign at Virtuosi Racing’s home event. The South Korean rounds out the top ten, just two points clear of Stewart.
Edward Pearson is also keeping a watching brief on that battle, another four points adrift in 12th, with Noah Lisle (JHR), Adam Fitzgerald (Argenti) and Daniel Mavlyutov (Hitech) locked in a hard-fought battle for 13th to 16th in the standings.
Chris Dittmann Racing return to the grid this weekend with two fresh faces to Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series in Indian racer Divy Nandan, a member of Narain Karthikeyan’s Academy, and Jack Sherwood, already a GB4 race winner in 2022.
Qualifying kicks off the competitive action at 10:30 (BST) on Saturday, with two races to follow at 14:05 and 17:50. The second race features a partially reversed grid, with the top ten qualifers flipped to form the starting order.
Sunday features one further, ITV4-televised contest, due to get underway at 15:05 in front of a capacity trackside crowd at the Norfolk venue.