Podiums and points at Thruxton

Formula 4
May 31, 2022

The Carlin British F4 team enjoyed a strong outing at the team’s home event at the Hampshire circuit of Thruxton last weekend, in round three of the ROKiT F4 British Championship. All three Carlin drivers; Ugo Ugochukwu, Oliver Gray and Louis Sharp graced the podium throughout the weekend following a strong team performance in qualifying. 

With the customary practice day held earlier in the season, track action kicked off this weekend with qualifying on Saturday morning with all three Carlin drivers putting in a strong performance. Ugochukwu challenged for pole position, but lost out to Alex Dunne to set the second fastest time, just ahead of team-mate Gray who was third fastest and Rodin back Sharp in the third Carlin car who was fourth fastest. 

As the lights went out for the first race of the weekend it was Ugochukwu who took the lead, with Gray and Sharp maintaining their third and fourth positions. Ugochukwu looked completely in control of proceedings despite pressure from Dunne, until he ran onto the grass on lap six which allowed Dunne to steal the lead. The McLaren Junior couldn’t find a way back past and had to be content with second at the flag with Gray making it a double podium for the team in third. Sharp meanwhile saw his chances of a strong result evaporate after being hit into a spin by Aiden Neate on the start/finish straight and came home 14th. 

Sunday morning’s reverse grid race was a typically chaotic affair with close racing action throughout the field. Both Gray and Sharp made good starts off the line to make up places although Sharp would later drop back slightly suffering with tyre wear. Gray set about making further progress and was involved in an almost race long battle with Dunne, the Williams Academy Driver managed to both defend from Dunne and attack ahead, securing himself a fourth place finish with Ugochukwu also making up places in the latter stages to sixth, with Sharp ninth. 

Race three of the weekend took place under slightly grey and threatening skies, with Gray starting second ahead of Ugochukwu in third and Sharp fourth. As the lights went out it was Ugochukwu who made the best start, but the American found himself boxed in by Dunne. Gray had also made a good getaway but contact from Coseteng behind resulted in a puncture and the British racer veering off track on lap one, before recovering to make it back to the pits for a new tyre. Gray re-joined as one of the fastest drivers on track but faced a hopeless task at the back of the field a lap down. At the front meanwhile, Ugochukwu was still running second while Sharp was fending off Neate to hold third. Both Carlin men maintained position to the chequered flag to take another strong double podium for the team. 

Speaking about his weekend, Ugochukwu said “I had good pace this weekend and although two second places is a goodresult, we know we could have got even more.

Alex [Dunne] has taken a bit of a lead in the standings, but it’s a long season, we know we are quick. We will keep working and doing what we are doing and pushing for results.

Teammate Sharp added about his race three podium; “It wasn’t a great start, I was a bit too careful, but we had good pace and I was able to get back into third. After that it was just about keeping the position and keeping the others behind.  This result means a lot to me I’m really happy. We’ll keep pushing for the same and more at the next round at Oulton Park.” 

It was a weekend of mixed fortunes for Gray, who demonstrated front running pace over the weekend; “overall, it was a bit of a disappointing weekend considering we had really strong pace,” said the British driver.  “We were P3 in qualifying and then P3 in race one, which was a good hard-fought race. In race two I drove really well; went from P8 to finish P4 and the car was perfect. Race three was really disappointing.  I got a good start from second to fight the leader in to turn one, then unfortunately a little bit of contact in turn three from behind caused a puncture and retire from the race ultimately. So in that respect it was disappointing not to come away with another podium at least, but looking forward to Oulton and getting on that top step of the podium.”

The F4 British Championship will continue at Oulton Park from 10th - 12th June.