Abbi Pulling leaves Brands Hatch GP elated after securing her maiden podium – and a decent points haul – from the second round of the 2020 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost season.
The JHR Developments racer enjoyed a strong start to the triple header, qualifying fourth before maintaining that for a then-career best result in the opening race.
Pulling then went one better, fending off Luke Browning (Fortec) and Alex Connor (Arden) – both second-year drivers and currently Zak O’Sullivan’s closest title challengers – to land her first podium in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series.
Although last-lap contact with Christian Mansell (Carlin) dropped the 16-year old to the back of the field in the ITV4-televised finale, the net result of races one and two still elevates Pulling to eighth in the standings, six points adrift of JHR team mate James Hedley ahead.
“Overall, it’s been a really good weekend,” summarised Pulling.
“We had a positive qualifying session and I was P4. There was a bit more in the bag after looking at the data, but you know it is what is: it’s my best qualifying performance in my second meeting in British F4, so it’s not too shabby.
“The first race I started and finished P4 so it was quite a calm race.
“Race two was kind of the highlight of the weekend; I got my first podium and it’s not like it was an easy race either. I was pushing 100% from start to finish as I had two very experienced drivers behind me in Browning and Connor who have both raced at Brands Hatch in the past, whereas I’d only done one test day beforehand so you can’t really complain about that, especially as we caught the leaders at the end as well.
“Race three didn’t really go our way – I messed up the start a little bit, but you know it’s still a learning experience. It was annoying that we had a bit of contact on the last lap which put me down in 14th position because it would have been a good point scoring weekend if it wasn’t for that. It is what it is and I’m happy.”
The aim for Pulling now is to carry that momentum over to the next event, at Oulton Park in Cheshire on the 22-23 August, as she looks to expand her silverware collection at a circuit she feels more comfortable with.
“The pace is definitely there, and we’ve shown the lads that I’m here to win,” said Pulling.
“I was speechless on Saturday and hopefully we can carry that to Oulton Park. We’ve been strong there in testing and I know that I’ve got the pace more so than Brands Hatch, so to come out with a podium at a track that I wasn’t as confident in means it was a very positive weekend.”