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Middlehurst takes first F4 win in dramatic second Brands Hatch race

Sunday, August 31 2014

Mark Godwin Racing's Chris Middlehurst claimed his first win in F4, with an opportunistic drive on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit this morning (Sunday).

He held off a recovering Arjun Maini, who led early on before a mistake dropped him to second place behind Middlehurst, with the pair separated by 0.325s. George Russell climbed from 10th on the grid to take third for Lanan Racing, extending his championship lead over Raoul Hyman who finished fourth.

Jordan Albert claimed fifth, once more pressuring Hyman for fourth having run third early on, with Lanan's Struan Moore sixth.

Will Palmer finished seventh despite leading the first two laps of the race, but was involved in an incident on lap three which shuffled the order, with Palmer recovering to pass Tom Jackson late in the race.

Palmer's HHC team mate Sennan Fielding was also caught up in the incident, and dropped to 15th before recovering to ninth. Hillspeed's Alfredo Zabalza completed the top-10.

Palmer led from pole, but it was third placed Fielding who made the best start, passing front row starter Middlehurst and challenging Palmer for the lead at Paddock Hill Bend on lap one. Fourth placed starter Jordan Albert also made a good start to run third early on, challenging Fielding on the outside of Graham Hill Bend.

Palmer, Fielding and Albert held the top three positions and were separated by fractions, but an incident at Druids on lap three sent Palmer down to eighth, Fielding to 15th and Albert to fifth.

Maini, then running fourth, was the main beneficiary and claimed the lead with Middlehurst following through into second, while championship leader George Russell emerged in third having started 10th on the grid.

Maini stretched out a small lead of just over a second, but then spun on his own at Sheene on lap eight with Middlehurst taking avoiding action to take the lead. Maini recovered, still holding second place, but Middlehurst held off his advances to take his first F4 win.

The top-three finishers on the podium received their trophies from single seater, turned GT racing ace Adam Carroll.

"I'm really pleased," Middlehurst commented. "I didn't get the best of starts and dropped down to sixth on the first lap. They all then seemed to collide at Druids which meant I got a few places back and climbed up to second. 

"I tried to push Maini as hard as I could and he made a mistake and spun so I got the lead which I was able to hold until the end, despite some pressure from him at the end.

"Maini spun on the exit of Sheene and I narrowly avoided him, but kept my foot in to gain as much time as possible as I knew he was pulling away when he was in front of me, so I needed to get as much of an advantage as I could. It's a great result for me and the team."

The result means George Russell extends his championship lead to three points over Hyman, with the pair separated by just one point entering the race. Maini is now just 25 points behind Russell, moving above Fielding into third in the standings.

The next race takes place at 15.25.

BRDC F4 Championship, Brands Hatch GP, race two result:

1. Chris Middlehurst, Mark Godwin Racing, 14 laps
2. Arjun Maini, Lanan Racing, +0.325s
3. George Russell, Lanan Racing, +3.099s
4. Raoul Hyman, HHC Motorsport, +4.794s
5. Jordan Albert, SWR -Caterham F1, +5.210s
6. Struan Moore, Lanan Racing, +7.400s
7. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, +9.680s
8. Tom Jackson, Chris Dittmann Racing, +10.962s
9. Sennan Fielding, HHC Motorsport, +11.308s
10. Alfredo Zabalza, Hillspeed, +18.773s
11. Diego Menchaca, Douglas Motorsport, +18.915s
12. Gustavo Lima, Hillspeed, +19.652s
13. Connor Jupp, Meridian Racing, +20.205s
14. Tom Bale, Chris Dittmann Racing, +29.020s
15. Jai Nijjar, Meridian Racing, +1 lap
16. Rodrigo Fonseca, Douglas Motorsport, +3 laps
DNF. Rahul Mayer, Hillspeed, 7 laps
DNF. Michael Claessens, Mark Godwin Racing, 5 laps
DNF. Gaetano di Mauro, Petroball Racing, 0 laps
DNF. Charlie Eastwood, Douglas Motorsport, 0 laps
DNF. Diego Borrelli, SWR - Caterham F1, 0 laps