Chris Mealin steered his way to BRDC Formula 4 victory at Oulton Park during the Easter weekend. After confirming his entry into the prestigious single-seater series with the established Lanan Racing outfit, he was keen to perform on his debut. With three racing opportunities to demonstrate his ability, Mealin didn’t disappoint.
Qualifying kicked off on Saturday morning with a 20 minute session. This would make the grid line up for the 1st race in which Mealin set a lap time of 1:36.896 which put him in 7th.
As the opening race of the season developed, Mealin soon found himself in a close battle for 4th place, with four cars nose to tail. He did what he could but at Oulton Park, as shown, it is very difficult to overtake and managed to collect a strong 7th place finish.
Action resumed on Monday 6th April, after a break for Easter Sunday. Pole sitter Sisa Ngebulana suffered a spin en route to the grid for race two. Mealin was left alone on the front row and as the lights went out, Mealin raced clear of the rest of the field down into Turn 1 (Old Hall).
Before long Mealin’s lead was under threat and he was forced into defence mode. As the pack began their 2nd lap, the top 3 were separated by just 0.879s, with Haggerty tailing
Manxman Mealin within 0.371s. As the race neared an end, Mealin managed to edge ahead to claim his first victory of the season by just under one second.
With the afternoon sun bearing down Mealin soon found himself on the grid ahead of the final race. The grid order was decided by the fastest laps in race 2, in which Mealin posted the 4th fastest lap seeing him on the 2nd row in 4th for the start. A great getaway and a good opening lap meant that Mealin was able to take 3rd position from Harri Newey, who spun at Turn 4 (Shell Hairpin). For most of the race Mealin was able to hold on to the top 2, then with 5 laps to go, the 2nd place Haggerty made a mistake & spun into the last corner (Lodge). Mealin took the opportunity and got a good run out of Lodge and lined him up for a move into turn 1 (Old Hall), in which the Scot out breaked himself while under pressure. Mealin seized the moment perfectly and went on to bring the Lanan car home for a 2nd podium.
Commenting on his maiden BRDC Formula 4 triumph, Mealin said: “I had to work hard for it. I knew I had to get a good start and run for the border so to speak. I just got my head down and had to keep focused which I did and the emotions poured out when I crossed the line to take the chequered flag.”
Declaring his weekend a resounding success. “I certainly didn’t expect to win. It is only my second race in the championship and we’ve got a win so I have to say a big thank you to all the guys at Lanan Racing, my manager, trainer and my family back at home who support me,” he said.
Mealin leaves Oulton Park 2nd in the championship standings, just five points adrift of leader Will Palmer. The next round of the Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship takes place at Rockingham Motor Speedway, Northamptonshire (2nd – 3rd May 2015).
For further information about the race weekend:
BRDC Formula 4 Championship standings 6/4/15