A red and white car on the racetrack photographed from the right

British F4 Brands Hatch: Higgins storms up the standings to become Sharp’s nearest threat

James Higgins had a strong second round of the 2023 British F4 Championship at the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit. The Fortec Motorsport driver took home a win, a podium and a double pole position, shooting him up to second in the standings and cutting Louis Sharp’s lead to 13 points.

By Gerren Scapens

The weekend started well for Higgins, who put in not only the fastest time in a wet qualifying but the second fastest as well. This gave the Briton pole for two of the three races on that weekend, while Sharp’s best and second-best times put him only 11th and ninth respectively.

Race one, though, was all about Hitech drivers Kanato Le and Will Macintyre. At the start, Chris Dittmann Racing driver Daniel Guinchard initially got the jump on Higgins into Paddock Hill Bend but lost the lead by going wide later in the lap. Le then took the lead before the race was interrupted by a red flag caused by an incident for Josh Irfan and Sonny Smith at Paddock Hill Bend.

It meant that when the cars did get back underway, Le led Macintyre and Higgins and Deagen Fairclough, who had risen to fourth from 19th on the grid. The JHR Developments driver actually finished ahead of Higgins before being handed a five-second penalty for a start procedure infringement.

Fairclough would be in the centre of the action in race two as he and second-place starter Aiden Neate both got the jump on reverse-grid polesitter Isaac Barashi. Only one corner later, on the entry to Druids, did Fairclough dive to the inside to pass Neate with a move that looked like it would earn him a penalty.

Though Fairclough went on to pull away from the field and cross the line nearly five seconds in front, that penalty did come after the flag, dropping him down two positions to below Neate. This meant Dion Gowda inherited the win, earning Rodin Carlin their only piece of silverware across the weekend after their dominant showing at Donington.

Race three was all about Higgins, who led from lights to flag on a warm and dry track. But he had Macintyre and Guinchard in hot pursuit, with the trio separated by 1.463 seconds at the flag.

Championship leader Sharp did not have the best of weekends. After rising from 11th to join the battle for the podium places in race one, the young Kiwi retired on the second lap after the restart when he beached himself in the gravel on the outside of Druids. In races two and three, he missed out on the podium by one position.

Sharp still earned 23 points from Brands Hatch and Carlin 43 to retain both championship leads. That being said, they will want to forget Brands Hatch as soon as possible, whereas Higgins, now second on 69 points, will be eager for the Snetterton round in two weeks’ time to maintain his momentum and move further up the standings.

Header photo credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography


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