Zane Maloney wins British F4 title in double-win thriller

Zane Maloney wins British F4 title in double-win thriller

14.10.2019: British F4 driver Zane Maloney sealed the British F4 Championship title in convincing fashion with two victories at Brands Hatch Circuit this weekend, bringing his season tally

British F4 driver Zane Maloney sealed the British F4 Championship title in convincing fashion with two victories at Brands Hatch Circuit this weekend, bringing his season tally to a record-matching 10 wins in total, continuing Carlin Racing’s clean sweep of the series since 2015.



Having recently celebrated his 16th birthday in Christ Church, Barbados, BRDC Rising Star Zane returned to England tied on points with rival driver Sebastian Alvarez, with Louis Foster still a mathematical threat just 30 points behind in third. A three-race shoot-out would decide the overall winner for 2019.



The British weather provided an extra challenge from the first laps of Friday’s practice, and Saturday’s qualifying session was no different. Despite the heavy rain and treacherous track conditions, the Bajan ace lined up third on the grid for Race One; crucially ahead of championship rival Alvarez.



As the lights went out on Saturday, Zane made a storming start to cut past Alex Connor and pull alongside leader Louis Foster into Paddock Hill bend. Foster moved across to the outside to defend the position, but Maloney held the outside line well and shook off minor contact to take a commanding lead by turn two.



The Bajan ace would hold his nerve through multiple safety car periods to take the chequered flag 10 laps later, celebrating his ninth win of the 2019 season.



Zane reflected on a perfect start to the weekend:
“What a race! We had an amazing start, passed Alex and alongside Louis through Turn 1.



“I’m not sure what happened with him, but we touched and it’s unfortunate we couldn’t both keep going. After that it was just about keeping cool with the safety car restarts. It feels great to be back. One down, two to go.”



Saturday afternoon’s reverse grid race proved to be anything but straightforward with heavy rain severely reducing visibility. Starting from fifth, Zane was unable to make any further progress in the challenging conditions.



Though Alvarez’s getaway was initially judged as a false start and a 10-second time penalty awarded, the Mexican’s victory was rescinded post-race. Zane’s momentary 12-point lead in the standings was converted to a five-point deficit, setting up a winner-takes-all final race on Sunday.



Looking back on a challenging race, Zane said:
“I think it was worse than Croft, and Croft [race 2] got cancelled. The right thing just now might have been to cancel it. I think, if we went a little longer it would have been cancelled, but it was really bad conditions.



“We made the best out of [the tyres]. It was really hard to gain on anyone because it was too wet.”
Prior to racing action on Sunday afternoon, Zane was awarded the prestigious JTR Memorial Award by British F4 Championship organisers and JTR Team Manager Nick Madge.



The award holds a special place in the hearts of all involved in the series, honouring the memory of the late Joe Tandy to highlight a rookie driver that’s made the biggest impression on the paddock with their achievements, character and commitment.



“I feel very honoured to be presented with the JTR Memorial Award today. I know how much this means to the JTR team, British F4 and everyone involved in running the championship. Thank you all!”



Zane lined up fourth on the grid for Sunday’s Race Three, just yards ahead of Alvarez. In typical fashion, a lightning getaway as the flag dropped would set the tone for the rest of the race.



Maloney rocketed from fourth to second by turn two, briefly challenging for the lead of the race before slotting in behind leader Foster. As his title rival Alvarez faded in fifth, then dropped further to seventh, Zane set about applying pressure for the overall lead of the race.



The decisive moment came at one of the quickest corners at Brands Hatch Circuit, Westfield, and despite the slippery conditions Zane powered past Foster to seize first place.



In an unfortunate turn of events for the Mexican, Alvarez was forced to retire from the race with mechanical issues, but crucially strengthening the Bajan’s position in the closing stages. Zane would now only need a top seven finish to secure the title.



Maloney crossed the line 1.2s ahead of wet weather specialist Luke Browning to take his 10th victory of the 2019 season, equalling fellow Carlin driver Jamie Caroline’s record from the 2017 season.




To round off his record-breaking debut car racing season, Zane said: “What an amazing season. What an amazing final race. 10 wins, I can’t believe it really. There are around 40 people here [at the track] supporting me, and maybe another 200,000 back home!



I’ve done it for Barbados, myself, the team, Kokoro Performance, everyone supporting me. I couldn’t ask for much more. I’m sure it won’t sink in for a long time. I want to thank all my sponsors; Sol Petroleum, Rock Hard Cement, Bushy Park Barbados Alpinestars and everyone else. And of course, the media, everyone that’s taken the time to speak with me and share this incredible journey. I don’t know what else to say!”


Zane now returns home to Barbados to celebrate, recharge and prepare for a new challenge in 2020.

 

 

Josh Butcher, Kokoro Performance


Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/zane-maloney-wins-british-f4-title-double-win---199090.html

14.10.2019 / MaP

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