Fourth win of the season for Zak O'Sullivan at Knockhill

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Zak O’Sullivan chalked up a fourth victory of an increasingly impressive maiden season in single-seaters as the British F4 Championship made its annual visit north of the border to Knockhill (August 28-30).

The twisty, undulating circuit near Fife is renowned as one of the toughest on the calendar to master but the 15-year-old did so with aplomb, following up a fourth place in the opening race of the weekend with a victory in the second encounter and a third place in the finale. 

The Carlin racer is now 37 points behind series leader Luke Browning (Fortec) in the standings and 55 clear of third placed Alex Connor (Arden), with five meetings and 14 races to go and up to 75 points up for grabs every weekend. 

O’Sullivan’s two best qualifying times were enough to secure him fourth on the grid for both the opening and third races of the weekend, a position he held to the flag in Saturday’s first encounter while also setting the fastest lap of the race. 

The partially-reversed grid for Sunday’s second race saw O’Sullivan line up third, which quickly became first when polesitter Abbi Pulling (JHR) and Arden’s Roman Bilinski made contact on the first lap. 

After a safety car to recover Pulling’s stricken machine, O’Sullivan charged off into the distance at the restart and came home more than three seconds ahead of Browning, taking a second fastest lap of the weekend into the bargain.

Continuing his momentum into the final race, O’Sullivan passed Connor in a bold move on the opening lap to keep up his record of taking two podiums at every meeting so far in 2020. 

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O’Sullivan, from Withington, near Cirencester, said: “We found a bit of time in the car after qualifying and the first race, so the pace was much better after that. Knockhill is a hard place to overtake but the two drivers in front of me came together and that made my life much easier. 

“After I got out in front, it was plain sailing and the car felt very good. The reverse grid race is slightly easier to win, because you know you hopefully have a pace advantage over the people starting in front of you and you don’t need to take as many risks.

“We are heading in the right direction and I’m looking forward to seeing how we progress at the next meeting. I’m still taking it session by session, race by race.”

After four meetings in five weekends, O’Sullivan now gets to enjoy a break of nearly three weeks before the championship visits the Hampshire speedbowl of Thruxton (September 18-20).

“I’ve enjoyed the back-to-back races but it is quite nice to get a break now. In a normal season you get used to long three-week gaps but we’ve not had that since we started,” said O’Sullivan.

“Thruxton went very well for me in Ginettas last year and I wasn’t off the podium in the two meetings we did there. But F4 is different and I have no real expectations for this year. 

“The track is like an oval which goes left and right – it’s very fast and you only brake twice in the whole lap. You can slipstream around a lot of the lap so qualifying isn’t as crucial as it normally is.”  

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