Despite a truncated season, the year came to a close this weekend with the British racing team clinching the championship before the final race of the season.
O’Sullivan took his ninth win of the season to secure the Vice-Champion spot – missing out on the crown by just four points – having enjoyed a brilliant season behind the wheel. Mansell ended his rookie season on a high, taking the rookie cup title as his own.
Going into the final weekend of the 2020 season, three titles were up for grabs. The overall championship, the team’s title and the Rookie cup; O’Sullivan was in the hunt for the overall and Mansell for the Rookie title.
Two days of testing took place before the weekend however the real battle on track began on Saturday morning with the final qualifying session of the year. During which the fight between the two protagonists heated up. O’Sullivan was just edged out by Luke Browning who secured two pole positions – however the Carlin driver made sure to start both races alongside his rival to provide him with the best opportunity.
Race one provided a brilliant showing for Mansell who wrapped up the rookie championship in style.
“This year was always going to be a learning year being the first year in cars. So to come away with some outright podiums, and the outright win here earlier this year, is amazing. The Rookie championship is the icing on the cake! Massive thanks to the team.”
Race two saw drama unfold with a yellow flag infringement which, with no pit to car radio, meant O’Sullivan was penalised for being unable to hand a position back.
Further scenes played out in the final showdown with rain falling on track as the battle went down to the wire. Browning dropped to the back of the field in the damp conditions leaving O’Sullivan in the prime position to secure the championship title. However race control ended the race early citing the worsening conditions on track.
As it was, 75% distance hadn’t been reached by the field and therefore the race could not be awarded the full points which would have secured O’Sullivan the championship. Instead, it meant that he fell short by an agonising four points.
The British driver said,
“I came into the weekend knowing all I had to do was beat Luke and in many ways, that’s what I did.
“Without the penalty in race two, I would have been much closer in the points to Luke heading into the finale. Then in that race, I managed to dodge the oil at the start and I had things under control.
“I’m not really sure why it was red-flagged, it didn’t really feel like the conditions were getting any worse. I was surprised the race director didn’t send out the safety car, as he could have run it for a few laps before deciding whether he needed to red flag it.
“But as far as I’m concerned, I won the championship on track and I will go home happy.”
As the final flag fell on the weekend, Carlin had confirmation that they had won the team’s title once again.