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Louis Sharp gains ground despite challenging Snetterton weekend

16 August 2022

Louis Sharp gains ground despite challenging Snetterton weekend

Louis Sharp Snetterton 2022

Louis Sharp has moved up into the top four in the ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA standings despite a challenging weekend on track at Snetterton.

The rising star from New Zealand headed for the longest circuit on the calendar on the back of three top six finishes at Knockhill a fortnight earlier, with the talented teenager bidding to return to the podium places to make up ground in the standings.

Having only tested an older specification of car at Snetterton prior to race week, Friday testing took on added importance for Sharp but he showed his talent by going third fastest at the wheel of his Rodin Cars liveried racer – setting a best time just three-tenths of a second off the pace in sweltering weather conditions.

Saturday’s qualifying session would prove to be frustrating for the 15-year-old as he struggled to hook a quick lap together, leaving him sitting ninth on the timesheets when the chequered flag flew. However, a theoretical best that would have put him P5 on the grid was an indication of the pace in the car heading into the opening race later that day.

Making up a spot on the opening lap, Sharp moved into seventh when Ugo Ugochukwu ran wide and would spend the entire race trying to find a way ahead of Daniel Guinchard before taking the flag in seventh.

The reverse grid second race saw Sharp take his place on the front row of the grid and the Rodin-backed car blasted away well when the lights went out and the field streamed down to turn one for the first time.

Seeing his chance to go for the lead, Sharp drew alongside leader Oliver Stewart but would be run wide as the pair headed down to turn two, putting him off line and dropping him back to fifth place.

Quickly overhauling Stewart on lap two, Sharp was consistently one of the quickest drivers on track but – as in race one – would find himself caught up behind Guinchard as he just missed out on the podium places by under three tenths of a second.

Fifth on the grid for the weekend finale, Sharp’s hopes of silverware would be dashed at turn one when he was squeezed between two of his rivals, which broke the front wing on the car and forced him to make an unscheduled trip to the pits.

Dropping to the rear of the field as a result, Sharp showed his pace with the third fastest lap as he crossed the line in 17th spot. Whilst that meant no points on the board, the earlier results have moved him to fourth in the standings and leave him just 30 points away from the top three; a remarkable performance having missed the opening three races as he waited to turn 15.

"It’s been a tough weekend and I think that was a circuit where it was always going to be a bit more tricky when I’d not driven this car here before," he said. "Qualifying didn’t quite go to plan as we went with a certain strategy on the tyres and it didn’t pay off, but we were unlucky in the races ­­­­– particularly in the last one with the incident that meant I lost the front wing.

"Despite all, that we’ve actually moved up into fourth place in the championship standings which is the big positive for us to take away from Snetterton. It could have gone better for us and I feel we deserved more, but these things happen in motorsport and we just need to put it behind us and focus on the next meeting.

"The fact I’ve raced at Thruxton earlier in the season is going to be a big bonus for me and we scored a podium on our last visit. Hopefully, we can do it again in a few weeks’ time."

2022 ROKiT F4 British Championship certified by FIA
(points after 21 of 30 rounds)

1. Alex Dunne (IRL) 331
2. Oliver Gray (GBR) 265
3. Ugo Ugochukwu (USA) 202
4. Louis Sharp (NZL)* 172
5. Aiden Neate (GBR) 167
6. Joseph Loake (GBR) 158

*only contested 18 of 21 rounds as too young to enter the opening race weekend


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