Home Formula 4British F4 Chris Lulham tops Fortec duel for British F4 Esports title

Chris Lulham tops Fortec duel for British F4 Esports title

by Ida Wood

Fortec Motorsports’ Chris Lulham won the Dallara F317-based British Formula 4 iRacing Trophy Esports title at Brands Hatch.

Luke Browning beat Fortec team-mate Johnathan Hoggard to pole on the track’s Grand Prix layout, and soundly beat him to victory in a “chilled out” first race to reclaim the points lead from their other team-mate Lulham.

After qualifying sixth, Lulham had a messy race that started with shunting into Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan when he got loose down the Cooper Straight on lap one and instigated a safety car interruption.

He pitted and rejoined the back of the train of cars before the restart, and had just made in into the top 10 when he spun at Surtees. Stewards deemed the car behind, Nico Pino, to be at fault and Lulham had to pit for a second time. Two crashes moved him up two spots, but he finished a pointless 11th and went into the title-deciding race 11 points behind Browning.

Arden’s Rafael Martins was punted out of podium contention by Carlin’s Zane Maloney early in the race, leaving Maloney and Varrone to battle for the final podium spot. Varrone ended up taking the positon with a brave move around the outside on the GP loop.

James Hedley (JHR Developments) and Alex Connor (Arden) had quiet runs to fifth and sixth and finished on Maloney’s tail.

The two title-contending Fortec cars made super starts to the reversed grid second race, which also began with a safety car period as Abbi Pulling crashed into her JHR team-mate Hedley exiting Paddock Hill Bend. Hedley’s out-of-control car then ploughed into Maloney and Varrone.

They were all able to continue after pitting, while Browning moved straight up to seventh.

Lulham forcefully made his way past Arden’s Nathan De Villiers after the restart for third place, and he passed Martins for second on the next lap.

Karter Luke Whitehead had his lead margin quickly brought down by Lulham, and when he moved past at Surtees he had Browning just a second behind him in fourth place.

A few corners later it all went wrong for Browning as he tried to pass Carlin’s Christian Mansell on the GP loop. The pair made contact at Stirling and Browning was spun into the barriers, ending his title chances.

Browning managed to stay on the lead lap after pitting, but victory for team-mate Lulham in the virtual darkness meant it was the latter who won the title and the waived entry fee for one British F4 round this year, worth approximately £1800.

Whitehead and Martins completed the podium behind Lulham, with O’Sullivan ending up being the top Carlin driver in fourth.