08 May James Higgins charges to maiden British F4 victory at Brands Hatch
James Higgins produced a superlative performance at Brands Hatch this past weekend (May 6/7) to clinch his maiden win in the ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA – staking his claim as a credible contender to this year’s crown in the process.
Emerging as one of the leading lights from the second meeting of the season, the Fortec Motorsport driver added a podium finish and double pole position to his victory in race three to make it a weekend to remember at the famous Kent venue.
Arriving at the 1.2-mile Indy circuit in a buoyant mood after kick-starting his campaign with a trio of points finishes at Donington Park last month, the 17-year-old dialled in the sweet spot on his single-seater machine during Friday’s two practice sessions.
Greeted with damp weather conditions on Saturday, Higgins – who is backed by Goblin EV and United Rental Systems – excelled as he showcased his talents behind the wheel by charging to the top of the times.
Maximising the conditions at the start of the session before they deteriorated, Higgins punched in a number of rapid times that were ultimately good enough to secure pole position for races one and three.
The opening contest would see the talented teenager claim his first piece of the silverware as he valiantly claimed third place. Dropping a couple of spots at the start, Higgins raced hard before regrouping due to a red flag coming out for an incident further down the field.
On the restart, the former Ginetta Junior driver would hound the driver in third all the way to the chequered flag however he was unable to find a way past. Fortunately, a post-race penalty for said driver would ultimately see him promoted to third.
Race two on Sunday – the series’ full reverse grid bout – saw Higgins demonstrate his overtaking prowess by carving his way up the order. Pulling off a number of eye-catching moves, Higgins charged from 17th to 12th.
Returning to the front row of the grid for the weekend’s third and final bout, which was broadcast live on ITV4, Higgins produced a flawless performance to claim a commanding lights-to-flag victory.
Maintaining the lead as the lights went out, the Fortec ace didn’t put a wheel wrong as he dealt with not only a brief safety car period but also immense pressure from the chasing pack. Not wavering out front, Higgins held his nerve to claim a popular maiden victory.
James Higgins: “What an incredible weekend! To be standing here as a British F4 race winner – as well as picking up a podium and pole position – is just an unreal feeling and I’m so happy. I’m going to remember this one for a very long time.
“We struggled to dial in the car a little bit on Friday but come Saturday we made the most of the tricky conditions, which I love, and hooked it up for pole position. To bring it home on the podium in race one was great and then we managed to pick up a few spots from the back in race two.
“Race three was one of the toughest races of my life; the pressure second and third were putting on me was just unreal but I just remained focused on hitting my marks and not making any mistakes. Getting that first win is special and hopefully it’s the start of many.”
Higgins’ memorable Brands Hatch weekend has seen him vault up to second in the overall Drivers’ Championship.
Rounds 7, 8 & 9 of the ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA takes place in less than two weeks’ time on May 20/21 at Snetterton.