Russell extends championship lead
Lanan Racing’s George Russell secured a dominant Race 1 victory at Oulton Park today, to take his tally to four wins from the 10 races held so far this year, extending his championship advantage to 27 points. HHC Motorsport’s Raoul Hyman took a hard earned second place, fighting off a race long challenge from Oulton Park local Chris Middlehurst, with Struan Moore fourth having joined in the fight for the podium in the second half of the race. Sennan Fielding and Will Palmer claimed fifth and sixth for HHC Motorsport, with Lanan’s Arjun Maini seventh and Tom Jackson eighth for Chris Dittmann Racing. Jackson’s eighth place gives him the reverse grid pole position for Race 2 which starts at 10.50am tomorrow.
Russell made a good start from pole position, secured in qualifying earlier today, while Hyman was forced to defend from team mate Palmer on the run down to Old Hall. Russell extended a lead of almost a second on the first lap, while Palmer continued to challenge Hyman across the line, with Middlehurst holding fourth. Palmer dropped to sixth on lap two, promoting Middlehurst into third while Russell extended his margin to 1.9 seconds. Russell continued to extend his advantage throughout, eventually winning by over nine seconds, but the major fight was behind with Hyman holding off Middlehurst throughout the race, with the pair separated by less than half a second for the majority of the 12 lap contest. Moore joined the fight after setting two fastest lap times, and by lap six was less than half a second behind Middlehurst.
Crossing the line to start the penultimate lap, the trio crossed the line almost as one, but Hyman did just enough to continue to hold the pair back to claim second and minimise the championship points damage to the unchallenged Russell, while Middlehurst claimed third, just 0.3s behind, and Moore half a second further back. HHC pair Fielding and Palmer were over a second away from the podium fight, with Maini enjoying an early tussle with Palmer before settling for seventh. Further back, there was a close fight for 15th in the closing laps, with Jordan Albert and Michael Claessens crossing the line side by side on three consecutive laps, with Claessens just taking the position by 0.152s. F4 newcomer Tom Bale secured a solid 17th place finish in his first race, less than two seconds behind the Claessens and Albert battle.