Preview: Titles set to be decided at Brands Hatch
For the eighth season in a row, Brands Hatch will decide all three titles in the ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA. But some are closer than others.
Hitech GP’s Alex Dunne holds a near-unsurpassable 102-point lead over Carlin’s Ollie Gray from afar, the Irish teenager in Italy on other commitments.
Only a victory for Gray on appeal at the National Court after the two collided disputing the lead at Silverstone, plus all three wins – and fastest laps – from the back of the grid to score overtaking points will give him scope to overturn the absent championship leader.
Things are much closer amongst the Rookie Cup contingent, however. The pendulum has swung all season long between two Formula 1 junior drivers, in McLaren’s Ugo Ugochukwu and Mercedes-AMG’s Daniel Guinchard.
Both took a class victory apiece at Silverstone, meaning the gap stands at 26 points, with 65 on the table at Brands Hatch this weekend. Carlin look set to kick off the championship’s second-generation era as the Teams’ Champions, with a 100-point advantage over Hitech as the races tick away.
It’s been a remarkably competitive season in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series, however, and in Dunne’s absence, a number of drivers will be looking to step up and end the campaign with a final flourish.
Chief among them is Kiwi rising star Louis Sharp. The Carlin ace could yet usurp Ugochukwu for third overall in the standings, and arrives fresh from a second win of the year at Silverstone. Equally thrilling is the battle to round out the top five, with JHR’s Joseph Loake and Phinsys by Argenti’s Aiden Neate just four points apart.
JHR’s Georgi Dimitrov won last time out at Silverstone, and will be looking to firm up seventh overall with Guinchard and Hitech’s Eduardo Coseteng tied level for eighth behind.
Oliver Stewart (Hitech) looks comfortable at the foot of the top ten, with a 38-point advantage over Virtuosi’s Michael Shin, who returns to the scene of his maiden victory back in May.
Six points back is his team-mate, Edward Pearson, undoubtedly keen to bounce back after a bruising trip to Silverstone, including a collision between the pair. Noah Lisle (JHR), Adam Fitzgerald (Argenti) and Daniel Mavlyutov (Hitech) round out the full-season entries looking to end their respective campaigns on a high.
Momentum has also already started to shift towards the 2023 season, and to that end, there are several relative newcomers on the grid this weekend looking for more crucial experience in race trim.
Both Isaac Barashi (Argenti) and Jaden Pariat (Chris Dittmann Racing) were on fire, bringing home their maiden Rookie silverware, whilst elsewhere James Higgins (Fortec) put in an impressive showing alongside Marcos Flack (Fortec), and was unlucky to not come away with his first points.
The championship will also benefit from expanded coverage by ITV Sport this weekend, with the opening race on Saturday streamed live at 16:25 on itv.com/btcc.
Sunday’s opener at 10:00 will be filmed and broadcast during the lunch break on ITV4’s BTCC programme, with the final race to follow live at 15:15.
Off track this weekend, take the opportunity for the final time in 2022 to meet the drivers at the official autograph session, held outside the F4 Race Centre at 12:30 on Sunday. After all, you never know where some of these drivers might end up in future…