Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan graced the podium three times this weekend, including once as race victor, as the F4 British Championship Certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost continued at the home of British motorsport: Silverstone. The championship contender cut the gap to his nearest rival as he fought brilliantly to claim three podiums, one overall victory and great points over the course of the weekend. Teammate Christian Mansell was also on the pace throughout and clinched fantastic overall results alongside two rookie victories, while Matias Zagazeta claimed one rookie win and a hattrick of class podiums.
Straight off the back of a race weekend at Thruxton, Silverstone left a short turnaround before racing action got underway again. However, two days worth of testing on Thursday and Friday in anticipation of the weekend kicked things off for the Carlin trio. And it was O’Sullivan who finished off as the official pacesetter as they tackled the short 1.6 mile Silverstone national track.
With the pace on board, the team headed into qualifying on Saturday morning feeling good about their chances. As it was, O’Sullivan secured a double second-row start in third for both races. Mansell and Zagazeta set lap times to line up tenth and 11th respectively in both races.
Race one brought a fight for O’Sullivan who, with the championship battle firmly in his sights, looked to gain momentum. Starting third on the grid, he was able to control his start well and inch out second-placed Casper Stevenson for the position. Keeping calm and setting his sights on the race lead, O’Sullivan pushed and tried to make the most of a mistake for race leader Alex Connor however he just missed out by the smallest of margins as the pair crossed the line. Zagazeta meanwhile claimed a rookie class victory after a strong sixth-place finish during which he brilliantly avoided the incidents of those around him. However, it was one of these incidents which sadly took Mansell out of contention and meant he retired from the opening race o the weekend.
Sunday brought two races to contend with and it was a much more dramatic affair for O’Sullivan who once again started brilliantly during the reversed grid race and managed to capitalise on incidents around him. Getting up to second place quickly he started to hunt down race leader Luke Browning – however, he was unable to make a move stick and crossed the line in second place. Things would change soon though as it was decided, after the race, that Browning had exceeded track limits on multiple occasions which had given him an unfair advantage over the Carlin man. As a result, the Fortec driver was handed a five-second penalty for the infringement which elevated O’Sullivan up to the top step of the podium. Mansell put the struggles of race one behind him well and was involved in a fantastic battle for position which he held nicely. The Australian took seventh as the flag well which ensured a rookie class victory. Peruvian racer Zagazeta joined him on the class podium having taken the flag in 11th.
The third and final race of the weekend later in the afternoon was another chance at a podium for O’Sullivan which he took happily with both hands. Crossing the line third, and once again ahead of championship leader Browning, he was able to close the gap back to his rival. Mansell clinched the rookie class victory – steaming ahead in the championship standings – as he finished sixth overall while Zagazeta finished tenth and took a clean sweep of rookie class podiums.
O’Sullivan said of the weekend, “Overall I think this is a good result however in the final race I didn’t quite have the pace to catch the front two and capitalise even more on our results. It’s positive to get the podiums though. Looking ahead, I enjoy Croft as a circuit so bring on the next round!”