Lochie Hughes scored his second Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda (F4 U.S.) win of the season, driving the No. 6 Jay Howard Driver Development / CSU One Cure / Lucas Oil / Pelican Ligier JS F4 to victory lane in race two on Sunday morning. The native of Australia’s Gold Coast steadily drove through the field after rolling off sixth for the 25-minute contest.
First-time polesitter Alex Berg (No. 08 Doran-Kroll Competition Ligier JS F4) faced a tough battle from second-place Ryan Shehan (No. 66 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsports Ligier JS F4). The two raced side-by-side for two and a half laps before making contact in Turn 5 and opening up the door to their competitors.
Meanwhile, Hughes had already begun his charge through the field. The 20-year-old driver took it three-wide through the Keyhole to move up to fourth on lap two, and continued to make bold moves to pick up positions throughout the race. He moved into third as Shehan and Berg made contact in Turn 5 on lap three, then pulled into second as he worked through the carousel on the same lap. In just four laps, Hughes completed his charge to the front, overtaking Berg in the Keyhole to take the point position.
“The first couple laps, everyone was really close, so whenever a gap opened up I just put the car there,” said Hughes in Victory Lane. “We made our way up to third and then the leaders were battling and we capitalized on that to go up to the lead. Then, it was just all about focusing; no mistakes and trying to pull a gap on Noah [Ping]. We pulled up to the back-markers and they were in the way a bit, which cost me, actually. We touched a bit, which let Noah get right back on me. I had to defend for about a lap before I could bridge a gap again. From there, no mistakes and brought it home for the finish.”
With Hughes leading the field to the checkered flag, he was trailed by Noah Ping (No. 65 Velocity Racing Development Ligier JS F4), who made a hard charge to the front after starting in seventh. Race 1 winner, Bryson Morris (No. 39 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F4) finished third, with Matt Christensen (No. 45 Velocity Racing Development Ligier JS F4) and Andre Castro (No. 8 Future Star Racing Ligier JS F4) rounding out the top five.
A full run-down of the official results from Race 2 are available, here.
Noah Ping, driver of the No. 65 Velocity Racing Development Ligier JS F4, scored his second win of the season in the final race of the weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. It was a hard-fought win for the 20-year-old, who had to fight for the point position, not once, but twice, in order to take the victory.
Starting in the second position, Ping held it two-wide with pole sitter Lochie Hughes (No. 6 Jay Howard Driver Development / CSU One Cure / Lucas Oil / Pelican Ligier JS F4) all the way to Turn 4, where Hughes got out of shape and spun through the grass, leaving Ping to take the lead. With Hughes out of the battle, Ping led Bryson Morris (No. 39 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F4) and Ryan Shehan (No. 66 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F4) throughout the opening laps, with less than two seconds separating the three drivers.
In the middle of the race, Morris was able to overtake Ping to lead the field for seven laps. However, Ping never let Morris open a measurable gap, and was able to regain the lead with less than three minutes remaining in the event. Ping was able to not only hold on, but also put some space between himself and Morris to prevent a last-lap pass.
“It was an up and down race; a bit crazy,” said Ping after climbing from the car. “I don’t know what happened to Lochie [Hughes] at the start, but I think he lost it. We made a little bit of contact when he spun back on to the track, but luckily the car is okay. When Bryson got by me, I think I was a little bit in my head because of the contact. It actually ended up getting a little wet in the Keyhole when I got the pass, so he ended up out-braking himself in the wet. I waited for the car and then got back to power and was able to pass him on the inside.”
The result marked Ping’s second victory of the season, with his first coming at NOLA Motorsports Park back in April. For Morris, it completed a podium trifecta, gathering a first, second, and third-place finish across the weekend.
A full run-down of the provisional results from race three are available, here.
F4 U.S. returns to the track next month for the New Jersey SpeedTour at New Jersey Motorsports Park, July 29-31. Tickets for the event are available now at NJMP.com/SpeedTour. Fans can replay the live stream of today’s races on SpeedTour TV’s YouTube page at YouTube.com/SpeedTourTV.