Fortec Motorsports’ Luke Browning took another victory and had a crash in the British Formula 4 iRacing Trophy Esports series at Brands Hatch Indy.
Browning pipped Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan and Zane Maloney to take pole in qualifying using the Dallara F312 car, but it was the third Carlin car of Marijn Kremers that led race one at the end of the first lap.
The Dutchman gained places at the start when his two team-mates collided due to a netcode error, and he had got past Browning for the lead before the safety car was called out.
It took a few laps of racing after that before Browning was able to get back past, but he was then untouchable as he pumped in fastest laps. Kremers finished a comfortable, but distant, second place behind Browning.
Browning’s team-mate Christopher Lulham started in fourth but was down to 10th before the safety car appeared, and he charged his way back up the order in the 28-lap race.
On lap 20 he passed a damaged Maloney around the outside of Paddock Hill Bend for third, and the two remained in those positions as squabbling took place behind.
Arden’s Alex Connor departed the battle for fifth after a failed move on O’Sullivan at Paddock Hill resulted in him spearing into the barriers, with O’Sullivan then getting blocked by a backmarker exiting the pits.
This gave JHR Developments’ Josh Skelton some crucial breathing room, but he had O’Sullivan and privateer Nico Varrone back on his tail by the final lap. They ran almost three-wide Druids, and Varrone got very close to passing O’Sullivan at Graham Hill Bend and Surtees. In the end nobody could complete a move, and they finished a close fifth, sixth and seventh.
Arden trio Seb Priaulx, Roman Bilinski and former Indy Pro 2000 racer Rafael Martins completed the top 10.
Frederick Lubin (Arden) and Johnathan Hoggard (Fortec) started the reversed grid second race on the front row, with Lubin making a strong start but ultimately not having the pace to stay there.
Once Formula 3 racer Hoggard took the lead he didn’t have it easy though, with Varrone hounding him throughout the race. At times the Argentinian got close enough to attempt a pass but usually thought better of it, and the promise of a tasty lead battle was nullified further when Maloney struck connection issues and dropped from Varrone’s gearbox at half-distance.
On lap 24, a small error from Hoggard allowed Varrone to capitalise and he slipped down the inside at Druids to claim the lead. The roles switched, with Hoggard staying on Varrone’s gearbox but never able to make a move.
Lulham went on another charge to complete the podium, with Lubin ending up sixth behind Kremers and Connor.
A failed early race overtake led to Browning completing most of the race sans front or rear wings, and he finished a twice-lapped 11th after being passed by Carin’s Christian Mansell late on. Despite that non-score, he still leads the standings.