Luke wins on ADAC F4 debut in Austria

Rising star Luke Browning enjoyed a fine start to his ADAC Formula 4 programme with victory on the opening weekend of the new season at the Red Bull Ring.

The BRDC Rising Star headed for the home of the Austrian Grand Prix looking to impress for US Racing; the team headed by former F1 race winner Ralf Schumacher and ex-Mercedes DTM boss Gerhard Ungar.

With one race weekend under his belt in the Abarth-powered F4 machine in the Italian F4 season opener at Paul Ricard, Luke headed into the weekend hoping to challenge towards the sharp end of the field.

Luke showed solid pace in practice to secure the second fastest time in FP2, with two qualifying sessions then being used to determine the starting slots for the opening races of the weekend on Saturday.

The reigning British F4 champion would secure fifth on the grid for race one with a best lap less than half a second off pole, whilst his best lap in Q2 would be good enough to ensure a sixth place start for race two.

Luke would retain his position at the start of the opening 30 minute long race but was then run wide across the gravel after contact on lap two and dropped down to twelfth place. As the race progressed, Luke drove well to battle his way back up the order to cross the line in seventh spot.

A fine move on Sebastian Montoya in race two enabled Luke to improve on his starting position in race two as he secured a fifth place finish, with the reverse grid for race three putting him fourth on the grid for the weekend finale.

Unusually, Luke lost a place at the start to Joshua Dufek and was then run wide when clipped by a rival at turn three and slipped back to eighth spot.

After an early caution period, Luke started to recover back up the order – avoiding a collision between Dufek and Oliver Bearman to work his way into the top five. Into the top three as the clock ticked down to under ten minutes, Luke fought his way ahead of team-mate Tim Tramnitz at the final corner to move into second place.

A safety car would then close up the field once again with Luke running behind Montoya on track. Whilst the Colombian would hold position until the finish, a five second time penalty for a false start meant he dropped behind Luke once the times were adjusted, giving the teenager a win at the end of his first weekend in the series.