Preview: ROKiT-powered rising stars ready for Knockhill
Refreshed and ready for the title run-in after the summer break, the rising stars of the ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA make their annual trip to Knockhill, Fife this weekend (29 – 31 July).
Hitech GP’s Alex Dunne still leads the way by 51 points from Carlin pairing Ollie Gray and Ugo Ugochukwu, but his rhythm out front was disrupted last time out at Croft on a character-building weekend for the Irishman.
So often the recipient of the Omologato Pole Position award in 2022 – three times from five attempts – Dunne found himself at the foot of the top ten in qualifying but battled back to salvage a reverse grid win and podium in the final race to limit the damage.
In his absence up front, a superb move around the outside of two cars at Tower netted serial podium finisher Gray his first win of the 2022 campaign, igniting the battle between the pair heading to Scotland.
Ugochukwu was another driver in strife at Croft, two non-finishes on Sunday taking the shine off a second-placed finish behind Aiden Neate (Phinsys by Argenti). The American will need to rally, and fast, with both Neate and the final Carlin of Louis Sharp hot on his heels, 13 points back.
Mercedes-AMG junior Daniel Guinchard and leading JHR challenger Georgi Dimitrov sit tied on 96 points apiece. Both have shown flashes of pace and have a reverse grid win each but will need more consistency to stake a claim for a top five spot in the standings.
Joseph Loake (JHR) scored a first podium since Brands Hatch back in May at Croft a few weeks ago. As one of the pre-season title favourites, he will be looking to use that as fuel as he aims to put together a charge up the order in the second half of the campaign.
Eduardo Coseteng (Hitech GP) has been an ever-present around the top six of late. Another strong weekend for the Filipino racer could see him leapfrog the competition up to as high as sixth from his current berth of ninth spot.
Virtuosi Racing’s Michael Shin leads team-mate Edward Pearson in 10th and 11th respectively. But both will be wary of a charging Oliver Stewart, the Hitech GP racer on home turf at last, albeit still four hours from his home further north!
Noah Lisle’s progress is starting to bear fruit, the Australian steering his JHR machine to points in each of the last two outings. Unfortunately, Chris Dittmann Racing and Joel Pearson will be absent this weekend, with the Leeds racer requiring extra recovery time after sustaining a broken thumb in an incident at Croft last month. Both team and driver will return to the grid for Snetterton.
Adam Fitzgerald (Argenti) took a career-best seventh in the Croft finale and arrives on the crest of that wave, but just two points separate him from an ever-improving Daniel Mavlyutov (Hitech). Everywhere you look this weekend, there’s a battle waiting to be resolved.
In the Rookie Cup stakes, Ugochukwu and Guinchard are split by just 10 points, with Stewart running third. Carlin similarly lead in the Teams Cup, 74 points to the good over Hitech GP.
Action around Knockhill’s notoriously challenging, 1.2-mile layout kicks off pre-event with testing on Tuesday. Practice is held at 12:00 and 16:20 (BST) respectively on Friday, setting up an all-important qualifying session at 11:15 on Saturday.
That will set the grid for all three races, the first of which is scheduled for later on Saturday afternoon at 16:15. The second, featuring a partially reversed grid, is at 10:20 on Sunday.
The ITV4-televised finale to the weekend, race three, is at 15:45 on Sunday afternoon. This will round out an event that, with a passionate local crowd and a rollercoaster circuit layout, always promises to be one of the highlights of the year.