Home Formula 4British F4 Virtuosi’s Aqil Alibhai wins reversed-grid British F4 race at Snetterton

Virtuosi’s Aqil Alibhai wins reversed-grid British F4 race at Snetterton

by Bethonie Waring

Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Aqil Alibhai held off Noah Lisle to become the sixth different winner of the British Formula 4 season in the reversed-grid race at Snetterton. 

The Virtuosi Racing driver managed a safety car restart on the way to his first single-seater racing victory.

There was a chaotic opening lap, with a number of drivers running wide and Kai Daryanani suffering a spin. The safety car was called as Deagen Fairclough ran off, but the JHR Developments driver was able to get going again under his own power. 

Pole-sitter Douwe Dedecker had managed to hold onto first place ahead of Isaac Barashi and Alibhai, but wouldn’t remain there for long. 

Alibhai got the best run on the safety car restart, quickly passing Barashi and closing in on Dedecker. After only a few corners, the Ginetta Junior graduate had passed Dedecker for the lead, with Lisle following him through. 

Alibhai was working on extending a gap at the front of the order when another safety car period bunched up the field. Daniel Guinchard and Josh Irfan had been running nose-to-tail as Guinchard tried to pass Louis Sharp. Both ran wide, with Irfan making contact with the barriers. Guinchard was able to continue but came into the pits with damage. 

It was a lengthy safety car interruption as Irfan’s car was removed from the barriers, and racing resumed with three-and-a-half minutes remaining. 

Alibhai made a strong getaway to keep Lisle behind him and was untroubled for the remainder of the race. Lisle did stay close though, and set the fastest lap on the final tour to close the gap at the front to just 0.339 seconds.

Patrick Heuzenroeder had a strong start to the race and was running third when the safety car came out for a second. He held onto the position as Sonny Smith and James Piszcyk battled behind him, earning his first series podium. 

Smith held onto fourth ahead of Pisczcyk and a charging Will Macintyre, who climbed up from 17th on the grid. Gustav Jonsson enjoyed a strong charge after a brake sensor problem in qualifying meant he started from the back of the grid. He finished eighth, just behind Aiden Neate. 

Early championship leader Sharp hit trouble during the second safety car period, dropping him out of the points-paying positions, while Dedecker fell back late on and then dropped to the back of the pack. 

Gabriel Stilp and Matteo de Palo completed the top 10, while Jaden Pariat was absent as he was not medically cleared to race following an x-ray on a wrist injury.

Race results (9 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Aqil Alibhai Virtuosi Racing 20m14.287s
2 Noah Lisle Carlin +0.339s
3 Patrick Heuzenroeder Argenti Motorsport +1.383s
4 Sonny Smith JHR Developments +2.030s
5 James Piszcyk Hitech GP +2.708s
6 William Macintyre Hitech GP +3.193s
7 Aiden Neate Fortec Motorsports +3.599s
8 Gustav Jonsson Chris Dittmann Racing +5.109s
9 Gabriel Stilp Hitech GP +5.590s
10 Dion Gowda Carlin +7.052s
11 Matteo De Palo Argenti Motorsport +7.523s
12 Kanato Le Hitech GP +8.410s
13 Louis Sharp Carlin +10.725s
14 James Higgins Fortec Motorsports +12.143s
15 Jack Sherwood Chris Dittmann Racing +13.357s
16 Kai Daryanani Virtuosi Racing +13.454s
17 Deagen Fairclough JHR Developments +13.899s
18 Douwe Dedecker Virtuosi Racing +14.039s
Ret Isaac Barashi Argenti Motorsport
Ret Josh Irfan Carlin
Ret Daniel Guinchard Chris Dittmann Racing
Fastest lap: Lisle, 1m49.344s

Championship standings
1 Sharp 82   2 Higgins 69   3 Lisle 64   4 Gowda 61   5 Macintyre 61   6 Fairclough 55   7 Guinchard 52   8 Le 48   9 Alibhai 46   10 Neate 40