Our youngest Williams Academy member Ollie Gray took two crucial victories and his first pole positions in the penultimate round of the British F4 season at Silverstone over the weekend.
Ollie's two podium trips – his 14th and 15th of the season – mean he is now the only driver in the series who can deny championship leader Alex Dunne the title.
However, there remains controversy as British F4 leaves the Northamptonshire track ahead of its Brands Hatch finale. Contact between the championship hopefuls had the stewards handing out penalties that will now go under appeal with the National Court.
British Formula 4
Two pole positions helped Ollie's path to reach the top step again. The Carlin racer's maiden P1 qualifying results were even more remarkable as Ollie set two identical lap times to clinch his pole position starts for Race 1 and Race 3. A driver's second-quickest lap sets the grid for the third race, and Ollie clocked in two 54.252 times to grab the double-pole.
A frantic opening to Race 1 had Ollie and Alex Dunne collide at Luffield as the F4 field went through a dramatic first lap. The contact sent Dunne spinning out, left damage on Ollie's front wing, and let the sister Carlin of Louis Sharp into the lead. However, Ollie quickly fought back to retake P1, and he wouldn't lose the position throughout a Safety Car-filled race.
Ollie and Dunne continue battling in the reverse grid Race 2, this time amongst the midfield. The pair exchanged places throughout the 20-lap race, with Dunne making the final overtake, but both would receive penalties after the race. A five-second penalty eventually classified Ollie in P10 after initially taking P7.
An interrupted Race 3 meant Ollie mostly had to keep out of trouble to lead from the front for his second win. Two early Safety Cars saw half the race over when the green flag finally waved before a third late Safety Car preceded an eventual red flag.
Nevertheless, Ollie kept the challenging Joseph Loake behind him in the few laps of racing to take the win and keep a slim chance of championship success into the final round.
The Race 1 incidents mean Ollie's win remains provisional, pending the National Court hearing. However, should the result stand, the Brands Hatch finale over October 8-9 will become the British F4 championship showdown.
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