Mo­men­tum with O’sul­li­van and Steven­son as Brown­ing strug­gles


Mo­men­tum counts for a lot in a championsh­ip fight and right now it seems to be slip­ping away from Luke Brown­ing in Bri­tish For­mula 4, as his main ri­vals Zak O’sul­li­van and Casper Steven­son again took a sig­nif­i­cant chunk out of his lead.

The first Croft race was held in the wet con­di­tions that Brown­ing nor­mally thrives in. But that was not the case in North York­shire as he made a slight mis­take at Cler­vaux at the start, run­ning wide and al­low­ing O’sul­li­van and Abbi Pulling through. Brown­ing then lost out fur­ther at Tower as the Ar­den ma­chines of Fred­er­ick Lu­bin and Ro­man Bilin­ski got ahead to leave him sixth – and that was where he stayed to the fin­ish.

Up front, pole­sit­ter Steven­son led ini­tially but was soon un­der at­tack from O’sul­li­van, who pounced through the chi­cane on lap two. O’sul­li­van built a gap of a couple of sec­onds be­fore Steven­son reeled him in and was right with the Car­lin driver at the flag.

“I was just a bit ten­ta­tive at the start and O’sul­li­van passed me and then I ran out of laps,” ad­mit­ted Steven­son, while O’sul­li­van said he strug­gled for pace a lit­tle as the track be­gan to dry.

Per­haps one of the clear­est in­di­ca­tions that it was not go­ing to be Brown­ing’s week­end came in qual­i­fy­ing. Steven­son and Brown­ing’s sec­ond fastest times were both 1m19.595s but, as Steven­son set his first, it was he who started from pole for race two, the re­versed-grid race not tak­ing place as each Bri­tish Tour­ing Car Championsh­ip sup­port cat­e­gory has a re­duced amount of track time at one of the fi­nal three sched­uled meet­ings.

“It’s crazy when you think about it,” said Steven­son about the pole times. “One turn of the wheel could’ve been the one thou­sandth [Brown­ing needed].”

Ar­genti Mo­tor­sport racer Steven­son man­aged to stay ahead through­out this time to bag his sec­ond se­ries win and a record-equalling ninth con­sec­u­tive F4 podium, while all eyes were on the bat­tle for sec­ond. O’sul­li­van made a bril­liant dive down the in­side of Brown­ing at the hair­pin on lap three of 15, only for Brown­ing to fight back across the start/ fin­ish line, but he ended up cut­ting across the chi­cane and lost the place.

Brown­ing re­mained right with O’sul­li­van for the re­main­der of the con­test, and did try a move around the out­side of Tower late on, but he had to set­tle for third as Steven­son and O’sul­li­van once again gained the up­per hand to re­duce his points lead to 13.

JEP Steven­son leads O’sul­li­van, while Brown­ing (far right) is be­ing caught up in points

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