JHR Developments’ Abbi Pulling is aiming to maintain her podium-contending form in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost at Silverstone this weekend following a career-best result at Thruxton last time out.
Pulling came within a whisker of a maiden pole position in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series, pipped by team mate James Hedley on second-fastest times for Race 3 in the final moments of qualifying.
After two hard-fought top-six finishes in the first and second races, Pulling then made a strong start from the front row in the ITV2-televised finale to challenge Hedley on the opening lap through the Complex.
Though she ultimately had to slot in behind, what followed proved to be one of the battles of the season so far, with Pulling fending off Argenti’s Casper Stevenson for the majority of the race in fine style to secure a career-best result of second, also the best result for a female driver in the series’ five-year history.
“James and I get on well and work well together so we planned a strategy and worked to give each other the tow. I was confident going into qualifying and we kept doing what we had been, and we got third for race one and second for race three, which I was over the moon about,” explained Pulling.
Pulling’s run to sixth in the opening race came despite late damage to the front wing, which only amplified the challenge of the high-speed 2.3-mile Hampshire circuit for the remaining laps.
“I was disappointed with my performance in race one, because I made a mistake on the Safety Car restart which dropped me back. In the final laps I went for a move on Alex [Connor] and thought he was going to pull out, but he came back in and I made contact with his rear which broke a bracket on my wing, so I was all over the place and trying to keep the car on the road.
“There was a big incident at the start of race two. I made it up to fourth but struggled a little on the worn tyres so lost one place but managed to defend from the championship leader and kept him behind, so that was a positive,” she added.
“I was full of aggression for race three because Saturday wasn’t as good as it could have been. I almost jumped into the lead at the start but thought it would be a clever option to follow James as he knows the track like the back of his hand. Casper caught me a little and it was a fight for the final 12 minutes. I was defending for my life and was happy to show what I could do in terms of my racecraft.”
The series heads next to Silverstone, home of the British Grand Prix, on 26-27 September, with Pulling full of confidence after some positive simulator and test day work in Northamptonshire, and aiming to make her visits to the podium a regular fixture.
“I am confident for Silverstone having done lots on the simulator and having had test days there. I have done more laps there than I have at Thruxton, so I am over the moon and aiming for some more pots next weekend!”