Louis Sharp won the opening British Formula 4 race of the 2023 championship at Donington Park.
The Rodin Carlin driver started from second after losing his fastest lap from qualifying, but was back at the front of the field by the exit of turn one.
From that point on, Sharp was untouchable, even when a early red flag brought the field back together.
Team-mate Noah Lisle made it a Carlin one-two with Daniel Guinchard finishing third for Chris Dittmann Racing.
The safety car was brought out at the end of lap one after an incident put Gustav Jonsson in the barriers. After a lap behind the safety car, the red flag was shown and the field returned to the grid.
It was a good move for Rokit Racing Star victor Deagan Fairclough who had suffered damage on the opening lap and needed to pit for a new front wing. That put him at the back of the field just as the red flag came out, but the countback placed him 10th when the race restarted. Aqil Alibhai was also taken out of the race on the opening lap.
Sharp was already in the lead at this point, with Lisle taking the restart alongside him. Lisle had no answer to Sharp, and had to deal with a fast starting Guinchard off the line.
Sharp pulled away from the rest of the field and extended his gap to almost two seconds at one point. However, Lisle began to reel in Sharp in the closing stages of the race. Lisle set a new lap record of 1m04.596s as he closed the gap, but couldn’t get close enough to attack before the chequered flag.
Guinchard finished a comfortable third, three seconds behind Lisle and a further second ahead of Dion Gowda in fourth.
The battle for fifth was much more intense. Kenato Le spent the first half of the race in a race of his own, before Fairclough managed to break out of a train of drivers battling for sixth. Fairclough put the pressure on Le, who exceeded track limits too many times and received a five second penalty. The JHR Developments driver managed to get ahead on track and take fifth in his first F4 race.
Le finished sixth on track but dropped back to ninth in the corrected timings.
Will MacIntyre came through to lead the battle for sixth and shook off the train behind him to finished second ahead of Josh Irfan, who took the rookie victory in seventh overall.
Aiden Neate would have finished in seventh, had he too not been handed a five second penalty for exceeding track limits and dropped back to 11th.
James Higgins, who was handed a 10 second penalty in the first part of the race for a jump start, finished eighth, as Le and James Piszcyk completed the top 10.
Results (14 laps)
|1||Louis Sharp||Rodin Carlin||15m13.529s|
|2||Noah Lisle||Rodin Carlin||+0.582s|
|3||Daniel Guinchard||Chris Dittmann Racing||+3.702s|
|4||Dion Gowda||Rodin Carlin||+4.711s|
|5||Deagen Fairclough||JHR Developments||+5.324s|
|7||Josh Irfan||Rodin Carlin||+15.331s|
|8||James Higgins||Fortec Motorsports||+15.445s|
|11||Aiden Neate||Fortec Motorsports||+18.881s|
|13||Jack Sherwood||Chris Dittmann Racing||+25.560s|
|15||Douwe Dedecker||Virtuosi Racing||+29.817s|
|16||Kai Daryanani||Virtuosi Racing||+35.890s|
|18||Gabriel Stilp||Hitech||+1 lap|
|Ret||Aqil Alibhai||Virtuosi Racing|
|Ret||Pontus Jonsson||Chris Dittmann Racing|
|Fastest lap: Lisle, 1m04.596s|