Casper Stevenson scored his and Argenti Motorsport’s maiden pole position in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost after a titanic battle at the top in qualifying at Croft.
It proved to be a tense affair, with the current top three in the standings – Stevenson, Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan and current points leader Luke Browning (Fortec) – spent the second half of the session debating top spot on the timesheets.
Browning looked to have the advantage as the only driver inside the 1:19s, before O’Sullivan, then Stevenson in turn wrested top spot away. Browning fought back, first matching Stevenson’s benchmark of 1:19.595 in a dead tie between the pair, then going marginally quicker.
Stevenson had the final word, however, clocking a 1:19.536 on his final tour of the 2.1-mile Yorkshire circuit to seize his first pole position in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series at the chequered flag.
That put him 0.040 seconds clear of Browning, and with O’Sullivan just a further 0.059s back the stage is set for a thrilling battle for the spoils in the opening race this afternoon at 15:35 BST.
On second-fastest times, Stevenson and Browning remain tied on 1:19.595, but crucially Stevenson keeps top spot to lock out a double pole position by virtue of setting the benchmark first.
Arden Motorsport’s Roman Bilinski took a career-best fourth on the grid, with team mate Frederick Lubin likewise celebrating a strong sixth, the pair split by the leading JHR Developments challenger of Abbi Pulling.
James Hedley (JHR) and Alex Connor (Arden) will start together on row four in seventh and eighth respectively; the pair are split by just three points in the standings and need a strong weekend to keep their respective title bids in good health.
Carlin’s Christian Mansell had run as high as third in the opening laps of the session, but eventually slipped to ninth; remarkably, just another 0.027s would have elevated the Australian as high as sixth, showcasing the strength in depth of the competition amongst Ford’s rising stars in 2020.
The second Fortec Motorsport challenger of Rafael Villagomez completes the top ten, with Matias Zagazeta (Carlin) 11th and Reema Juffali (Argenti) 12th.
Grid for Round 19:
|1||Casper STEVENSON||Argenti Motorsport||1:19.536s||11|
|2||Luke BROWNING||Fortec Motorsport||+0.040s||13|
|4||Roman BILINSKI||Arden Motorsport||+0.327s||12|
|5||Abbi PULLING||JHR Developments||+0.405s||12|
|6||Frederick LUBIN||Arden Motorsport||+0.414s||12|
|7||James HEDLEY||JHR Developments||+0.422s||12|
|8||Alex CONNOR||Arden Motorsport||+0.428s||11|
|10||Rafael VILLAGOMEZ||Fortec Motorsport||+0.578s||13|
|12||Reema JUFFALI||Argenti Motorsport||+1.203s||12|
Grid for Round 20:
|1||Casper STEVENSON||Argenti Motorsport||1:19.595s||11|
|2||Luke BROWNING||Fortec Motorsport||+0.000s||13|
|4||Roman BILINSKI||Arden Motorsport||+0.319s||12|
|5||Alex CONNOR||Arden Motorsport||+0.397s||11|
|6||Abbi PULLING||JHR Developments||+0.429s||12|
|7||James HEDLEY||JHR Developments||+0.446s||12|
|9||Frederick LUBIN||Arden Motorsport||+0.515s||12|
|10||Rafael VILLAGOMEZ||Fortec Motorsport||+0.581s||13|
|12||Reema JUFFALI||Argenti Motorsport||+1.334s||12|