Preview: ROKiT British F4 makes Thruxton return
Alex Dunne is in control at the top of the ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA standings, and with nine races to go heading into the weekend at Thruxton it’s “now or never” for the chasing pack to halt his charge.
The Hitech GP racer had looked vulnerable after a mid-season dip but re-asserted his authority with a commanding performance at Snetterton last time out, including a brace of pole positions, fastest laps and race victories from the three contests.
His nearest rival, Carlin’s Ollie Gray, kept a watching brief behind, but now sits 66 points adrift of Dunne. Both have previous race wins at the high-speed Hampshire venue, so there is, in theory, nothing to choose between the pair on-track this weekend.
Dunne also stands on the brink of etching his name into the championship record books in Hampshire this weekend. The 16-year-old now has nine victories this season, putting him just two shy of eclipsing Zane Maloney and Jamie Caroline’s shared record for ten in a single season.
One thing Thruxton does afford in these cars, however, is all-action racing, largely due to the abundance of slipstreaming opportunities. Club chicane is often a hotspot for late lunges and wheel-to-wheel moments in F4, and the other rising stars in the category will be looking to use that to their advantage.
Ugo Ugochukwu (Carlin) is third overall and was twice the runner-up to Dunne on our last visit here in May. The McLaren junior is comfortably clear of a thrilling scrap for fourth through sixth positions, however, with just 15 points blanketing his team-mate Louis Sharp, Argenti’s Aiden Neate and JHR’s Joseph Loake.
Loake in particular arrives in a rich vein of form, having won twice in successive meetings, most recently after a tyre management masterclass left him with enough performance in the reverse grid race at Snetterton to hold back a charging Ugochukwu.
Fellow JHR racer Georgi Dimitrov is another among the silverware of late, and statistically Steven Hunter’s team are the ‘ones to beat’ at Thruxton in years gone by, with seven wins, most of them in the last three seasons.
Eduardo Coseteng (Hitech), Daniel Guinchard (Argenti) and Oliver Stewart (Hitech) complete the top ten, the latter having enjoyed a stellar run of form of late.
Stewart, who came into the 2022 season down on testing mileage versus the competition, has only grown in confidence as the year has progressed, and is now knocking on the door of a maiden podium in the championship.
Virtuosi Racing pairing Michael Shin and Edward Pearson are split by just nine points in the race for 11th and 12th respectively. JHR’s Noah Lisle took his maiden podium in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series at Thruxton back in May, and returns looking to end a five-race run outside the points.
Jack Sherwood will return to Chris Dittmann Racing for a second meeting in succession and continues to partner Divy Nandan. Adam Fitzgerald (Argenti) and Daniel Mavlyutov (Hitech) complete the 17-strong field.
Ugochukwu leads Mercedes F1 junior Guinchard by 20 points in the Rookie Cup, with Stewart rapidly closing in. Carlin are 73 points to the good over Hitech in the Teams Cup.
Off track this weekend, be sure to also catch the championship’s autograph session for your chance to meet the motorsport stars of tomorrow. It’s held at 13:00 on Sunday outside the F4 Race Centre in the support paddock.