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Di Mauro charges to Brands Hatch F4 race one victory and title lead

Saturday, November 22 2014

PetroBall Racing's Gaetano di Mauro stormed to victory in the opening race of the Brands Hatch weekend with a dominant drive in wet conditions to take the championship lead.

He held off an early challenge from pole sitter Connor Jupp and then extended his lead in the second half to take his second victory of the Winter Championship. Jordan Albert survived a race long battle with Rodrigo Fonseca to take third place, with Fonseca spinning down the order on the penultimate lap, but still claiming fourth after a late overtake on Zubair Hoque who claimed fifth.

Previous title leader Will Palmer could only finish sixth after an early excursion through the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend. Palmer fell to the tail of the field but was able to fight back to minimise the championship damage.

Enzo Bortoleto claimed seventh for PetroBall ahead of SWR - Caterham F1's Fernando Urrutia and series newcomer Paul Sieljes for Chris Dittmann Racing.

Di Mauro made the best start to take the lead from Jupp on the run to Paddock Hill Bend, while Albert was also able to move past the Mectech car to run second early on with Jupp falling to fourth ahead of Palmer.

But starting lap two, Palmer slithered into the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend, dropping the then championship leader down to last place, and promoting Fonseca up to fourth.

Jupp was able to pass Albert for second on lap five, while Palmer began his fightback with a move on Sieljes at Paddock. Jupp then began to apply pressure to di Mauro, closing down the gap which had stood at 1.3 seconds down to 0.6 by lap 11.

Meanwhile, Fonseca in fourth was applying constant pressure to Albert with the pair frequently circulating less than half a second apart. On lap 21, Fonseca attempted a move at Druids, but made contact with Albert and spun, dropping to fifth behind Zubair Hoque and leaving the SWR driver clear in third.

Fonseca fought back with a move on Hoque on the final lap, and having set fastest lap, will line-up on pole for race two, which starts at 14.30.

Palmer's fightback meanwhile continued with a move on Urrutia for seventh at Surtees on lap eight, and Bortoleto for sixth on lap 14.

In the championship standings, di Mauro leads by six points from Palmer with Jupp moving into third.

Di Mauro commented: "Jupp was really quick and he was catching me but I managed the gap and tried to save the tyres at the same time for the next race, and I'm very pleased to take the win.

"With Palmer finishing lower down, it's even better and we need to keep doing this throughout the rest of the weekend. Palmer will be quick and we're going to fight a lot for this championship!"

BRDC F4 Winter Championship, Brands Hatch Indy, race one result:

1. Gaetano di Mauro, PetroBall Racing, 22 laps
2. Connor Jupp, Mectech Motorsport, +0.925s
3. Jordan Albert, SWR - Caterham F1, +5.060s
4. Rodrigo Fonseca, Douglas Motorsport, +17.709s
5. Zubair Hoque, SWR - Caterham F1, +18.512s
6. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, +18.999s
7. Enzo Bortoleto, PetroBall Racing, +24.833s
8. Fernando Urrutia, SWR - Caterham F1, +25.201s
9. Paul Sieljes, Chris Dittmann Racing, +32.370s