Gloucestershire’s Zak O’Sullivan has one hand on the GB3 Championship trophy after a dominant fifth victory of the season at Oulton Park (September 10-12).
With one meeting at Donington Park left to run, the 16-year-old Carlin driver leads Ayrton Simmons (Chris Dittman Racing) by 112 points and team-mate Christian Mansell by 115, with a maximum of 116 available.
It follows a weekend where O’Sullivan stormed to both pole positions before streaking clear of 2020 British F4 title rival Luke Browning (Fortec) in the opening encounter, taking the flag nearly four seconds to the good.
However, fate would still have a big hand to play in a dramatic second race, where Browning got ahead at the start and held the lead until lap 10, when he made a mistake exiting the hairpin.
O’Sullivan tried to pass around the outside into Hislop’s chicane but made contact with Browning, skating over the grass, into the barriers and into retirement.
It meant O’Sullivan would have his work cut out to win the championship in the soaking wet reverse grid finale, but he came exceptionally close, making up 10 positions to finish sixth and just one place short of where he needed to be to guarantee the title.
O’Sullivan, from Withington, near Cirencester, said: “It’s a bit of an odd situation but it seems to be a bit of a theme in my career! I’ve done most of the hard work and am really happy with where we are.
“We struggled a bit on Thursday and Friday but we made some setup changes overnight which helped, and it was crucial to get the double pole. In the first race, I was under a bit of pressure into turn two but was able to hold Luke off and pull away.
“Race two was a bit of an unfortunate incident. I wanted to win the race more than taking the championship early.
“Luke was slow and making a lot of mistakes so I wanted to get by him and I took my opportunity. It’s one of the challenges of this championship – drivers drop in for one-off races knowing the championship contenders can’t take any risks racing them. I wasn’t going to be intimidated.
“Then race three was quite eventful – the rain just came out of nowhere before the start. The gaps seemed to open up for me over the first few laps and I got up to sixth. After that I was just running to the speed of the guy in front.”
There is now a month’s break before the final weekend at Donington (October 15-17), where the title should be rubberstamped.
The maximum 116 points available is based on a grid of 27 cars, so if the entry list is confirmed as fewer than 27, the #51 driver will have an unassailable lead before even turning a wheel in anger.
“I’ve been fast at Donington in the past and hope that repeats itself,” said O’Sullivan. “There’s no pressure at all – I’m just going out there to have some fun.”