R1: Lights-to-flag triumph for McKenzy Cresswell in Croft opener

McKenzy Cresswell led from lights-to-flag to convert pole position into a third victory of the season in the opening F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost race of the weekend at Croft.

Cresswell’s JHR Developments team-mate Matthew Rees made a marginally better start from second and challenged Cresswell for the lead twice on the opening tour, first at Clervaux and then on the outside into Tower.

Having been successfully fended off on both occasions, that left championship leader Rees vulnerable to Fortec Motorsport’s Joel Granfors, running third, who duly pounced on a momentary lack of momentum from Rees to power through on the run down to the Jim Clark Esses.

Rees initially found himself quicker than Granfors, and the ‘cork in the bottle’ effect allowed Cresswell to break clear, before ultimately going on to register an impressive 3.8-second margin of victory at the chequered flag.

The result marked the 15-year-old’s third win in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series, his first non-reverse grid win and propelled him back into the thick of the title hunt with eleven races still to run.

Granfors’ stoic defence of second from Rees brought fourth-placed Matias Zagazeta (Phinsys by Argenti) into play, and the three ran virtually nose-to-tail for the majority of the contest, but ultimately the podium positions remained thus.

Joseph Loake (JHR Developments) rounded out a strong race for the Derbyshire-based team, but it was a somewhat lonely run to fifth spot for the Macclesfield racer. Zak Taylor (Arden Motorsport) was sixth in the leading Red Arrow, having made his escape from the squabbling Aiden Neate (Phinsys by Argenti) and Ollie Gray (Fortec Motorsport).

The latter pairing ran together for the vast majority of the 20-minute contest, but ultimately no opportunity to pass presented itself to Gray, and the two crossed the line seventh and eighth respectively.

The battle for the final points-paying positions was equally hard fought; despite trying both the inside and outside lines, Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak (Carlin) was unable to overhaul Eduardo Coseteng (Argenti) for ninth, the duo both mindful of a charging Marcos Flack (Argenti) behind.

James Hedley (Carlin) endured another character-building outing to 12th spot after a late move on team-mate Kai Askey, whilst the other Carlin challenger of Dougie Bolger – repaired after an off in qualifying – finishing in an Arden Motorsport sandwich, David Morales ahead of Georgi Dimitrov.

The weekend continues with the reverse grid race at 17:50 (BST), with Bolger on pole position from Dimitrov.

Provisional Result – Round 19:

Pos. Name Team Intervals
1 McKenzy CRESSWELL JHR Developments 15 laps
2 Joel GRANFORS Fortec Motorsport +3.845s
3 Matthew REES JHR Developments +6.115s
4 Matias ZAGAZETA Phinsys by Argenti +6.590s
5 Joseph LOAKE JHR Developments +8.071s
6 Zak TAYLOR Arden Motorsport +12.955s
7 Aiden NEATE Phinsys by Argenti +13.414s
8 Ollie GRAY Fortec Motorsport +14.461s
9 Eduardo COSETENG Phinsys by Argenti +18.548s
10 Tasanapol INTHRAPHUVASAK Carlin +18.869s
11 Marcos FLACK Phinsys by Argenti +19.078s
12 James HEDLEY Carlin +19.706s
13 Kai ASKEY Carlin +20.031s
14 David MORALES Arden Motorsport +21.130s
15 Dougie BOLGER Carlin +22.065s
16 Georgi DIMITROV Arden Motorsport +22.809s