Luke Browning and Marijn Kremers took the honours in both Snetterton rounds of the British F4 iRacing Trophy in two very chaotic races with lengthy safety car periods after large multi-car incidents, with the Fortec Motorsport driver in Browning extending his championship lead.
As the lights went out for race one, it was pole sitter and iRacing qualifying expert Luke Browning that managed to hold the lead from IndyCar star Alex Palou into turn one as chaos ensued behind involving many cars dropping out with damage, but thankfully the fast-repair option of the iRacing platform enabled them to rejoin the race at the back of the pack. Needless to say, the safety car was brought out to bring everything under control after a messy start that was inevitable in a 30-car field on the tight and twisty nature of Snetterton.
The biggest mover from the start was Silas Krag-Vrolijk who managed to gain 11 places moving from 27th up to 16th amidst the turn one madness, whilst 2020 impressive real-world rookie Frederick Lubin also made a great start, moving up to 4th from 8th for Arden Motorsport, looking for his first virtual silverware of the season.
Coming up to the restart with 11 minutes to go, Browning packed up the field very close and made a break for it out of the final corner and managed to gap Palou ever so slightly as Mckenzy Cresswell followed closely in third place. After the first flying lap it was Browning that lead Palou by just nine tenths of a second, with Cresswell keeping a similar gap to Palou. Lubin was beginning to hold up Lopez and 2021 British F4 rookie Kai Askey for fourth until Lopez found his way through at the end of Hawthorn straight.
A queue was beginning to form behind Lubin now, with Penn, Dimitrov and Alex Jonsson joining the fight for fourth place as the top three made a clear break for it. Carlin’s Kai Askey then managed to get through Pablo Lopez for fifth and began to try his hand at getting past Frederick Lubin.
Luke Browning’s lead was now up to three seconds over Alex Palou as we approached the final lap of the race, and it was the double winner at Donington that took the chequered flag, taking three wins from three races to really kickstart his second season in the British F4 iRacing Trophy in style. Alex Palou came home in second, with Mckenzy Cresswell in third.
On to the second race with a full reverse grid after the results of race one, and it was the Vulcan Racing Team entry of Joel Evans that started on pole ahead of Iberia’s Julian Moreno. Other notables in the top ten were JHR Developments’ stars James Hedley and Nathanael Hodgkiss in seventh and eighth respectively.
And as the lights went out, it was Evans that held the lead into turn one but it was Marijn Kremers that made a sensational start and took the lead into turn two from fourth on the grid, carrying momentum down the short chute, taking it three-wide into the hairpin to take a commanding lead on lap one.
Another safety car ensued however as we had more accidents on lap one, eliminating the large lead that Kremers had made. Mckenzy Cresswell gained a fantastic 18 places on the first lap, running in sixth place behind the safety car after dodging every bullet thrown at him in the chaotic first lap. Luke Browning gained 15 places from 26th to be running just outside the points at the five minute mark.
Some confusion ensued at the half way stage as the safety car was due to come in but stayed out and caught the majority of the field off guard, causing a pile up on the main straight and sadly eliminating many drivers from contention, causing damage to many in what just seemed to be nothing more than a quirk of the virtual world.
But when the safety car finally did come in it was Kremers that made a break as Evans and Matthew Rees battled behind him for second place, allowing the Dutch driver to gap the following duo. Luke Browning was up to an incredible sixth place with just a quarter of the race to go after a sufficient delay due to the safety car. Starting lap seven, and Browning was up to third place and challenging Alex Jonsson for second place.
One of the Race one stars Kai Askey was up to twelfth place for Carlin, making some decent progress from his lowly grid spot, but was caught in a midfield scrap with Matthew Rees who was originally running in second place but had made a mistake after the safety car restart.
But as we approached the final seconds of the race it was Marijn Kremers that took a commanding victory ahead of Alex Jonsson and Luke Browning in third after another spirited drive from the 2020 British F4 champion to continue his run of iRacing Trophy podiums in 2021, and maintaining his championship lead with just four rounds to go at Silverstone and Brands Hatch over the coming two weeks.