Stilp bags first race win while Sharp leaves Donington with narrowest of title leads
It was an eventful day for the ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA with an hectic morning wet race, won by JHR’s Deagen Fairclough, while in the afternoon, F4 Rookie Gabriel Stilp won his first single-seater race in the final round of an eventful weekend at Donington Park’s GP circuit.
Rodin Carlin’s Louis Sharp now leads the drivers’ championship by a single point over William Macintyre, setting up a thrilling final showdown at Brands Hatch’s GP track in October.
In the day’s first race, Fairclough moved into third place overall after an impressive second win of the season, having navigated his JHR Developments car through traffic in a wet opening race of the day.
In tricky conditions, the morning’s reverse-grid Race 3 got underway with Virtuosi’s Kai Daryanani on pole, although it was Argenti’s Isaac Barashi who was quick to make the move for P1 early on.
Clashes between JHR’s Tom Mills and Argenti’s Patrick Heuzenroeder and then CDR’s Gustav Jonsson and Rodin Carlin’s Josh Irfan added drama to the slippy conditions, with the latter incident bringing out the safety car. Upon the restart, Fairclough wasted little time in passing Barashi before establishing a lead to the finish, evidently relishing the challenging conditions, having started the race in eighth position.
Hitech Pulse Eight’s Macintyre was the big winner when CDR’s Jack Sherwood collected Isaac Barashi when the latter had a spin on the penultimate lap. Rodin Carlin’s Noah Lisle avoided trouble to inherit third place from the troubles ahead.
Sharp climbed from 21st on the grid to pick up a vital handful of points from a solid P4 finish, as Macintyre picked up an additional point having secured the Motul Fastest Lap Award.
In contrasting weather conditions, Race 4 set off in the dry with bright sunshine; Fortec’s Mika Abrahams once again leading off the grid from Sharp and Double R’s Freddie Slater.
Sharp and Abrahams picked up where they left off from yesterday’s opening race and immediately initiated a fight for the lead. Slater looked to get in on the act, but lost his front wing while challenging and was forced to pit.
Virtuosi’s Aqil Alibhai and Hitech Pulse Eight’s Stilp, who started fourth and fifth respectively, were soon in contention for the win too, as the top four edged away from the rest of the pack. As they battled for position, Stilp demonstrated why he is so highly-rated with some sublime moves to take his place at the front.
Shortly before an incident involving Irfan brought out the safety car, Abrahams was hit with a 10-second penalty for an infringement earlier at the start, dropping him out of contention for the podium.
Upon the restart, Stilp opened up a few seconds’ gap, while behind him Macintyre had worked his way up into fourth and Fortec’s James Higgins was battling with his teammate Abrahams, coming out on top to seal a P5 finish.
A red flag was called with two minutes remaining after Argenti’s newcomer, Alvise Rodella, stopped on-track. Alibhai managed to hold Sharp off for P2 for his third podium of the season, while Stilp took a well-deserved win, much to the delight of the watching supporters.
Having rejoined the race following a pitstop to replace his front wing, Double R Racing’s Freddie Slater secured the race’s Motul Fastest Lap Award on his ROKiT British F4 debut weekend.
JHR’s Deagen Fairclough won the weekend’s Pirelli Hardest Charger Award and the accompanying set of Pirelli P-Zero tyres for a forthcoming test session.
Gustav Jonsson leads Gabriel Stilp in the ROKiT British F4 Rookie Cup, while in the Team’s Cup, Rodin Carlin lead Hitech Pulse Eight by 27 points, with plenty still to play for at the final round of the season.
With just one point separating Rodin Carlin’s Louis Sharp and Hitech Pulse Eight’s Will Macintyre, the final round at Brands Hatch on 7-8 October will decide our ROKiT British F4 2023 champion and is an eagerly-awaited contest not to be missed!