Event Review: Croft

  • Cresswell takes brace of lights-to-flag triumphs in North Yorkshire.
  • Bolger defends valiantly to seal maiden win in action-packed reverse grid race.
  • Zagazeta leapfrogs Rees at championship summit, Fortec out front in Teams Cup.
  • Series heads next to Silverstone, Northants this coming weekend (25-26 September).
McKenzy Cresswell made the headlines with a brace of lights-to-flag victories in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost at Croft last weekend (18-19 September).

The JHR Developments racer was the class of the field in qualifying to take his second and third pole positions of the season respectively, and on both occasions fended off a first-corner challenge into Clervaux before bolting clear at the front.

The first saw him go wheel-to-wheel with JHR team-mate and erstwhile championship leader Matthew Rees, then in Sunday’s ITV4-televised finale it was the turn of Matias Zagazeta (Phinsys by Argenti) to attempt the same move around the outside into the first corner.

On both occasions, Cresswell emerged ahead, before capitalising on a hard-fought battle behind to stretch his lead, taking the chequered flag 3.8 and 4.6 seconds clear respectively.

His victories propel him back into the thick of the title battle with nine rounds still to run, the 15-year-old now third behind Rees and new leader Zagazeta, the Peruvian bagging a strong haul of points – plus a podium finish – to annex top spot at the summit by 5 points.

Cresswell sits a further 15 markers back, with another podium finish for Joel Granfors (Fortec) promoting him to fourth past James Hedley (Carlin), and just three points shy of the top three in the standings.

Cresswell’s visits to the winner’s circle book-ended a maiden victory for Carlin’s Dougie Bolger, the Japanese racer emerging victorious from a thrilling reverse grid contest in the evening sunshine on Saturday.

Bolger started from pole and survived a three-wide battle into Clervaux that wiped out Arden’s David Morales and left his team-mate Georgi Dimitrov at the back but came under increasing pressure late on from team-mate Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak.

Inthraphuvasak, who had secured second past Kai Askey (Carlin) with a bold dive to the inside at Tower the lap prior, attempted the same move on Bolger, but the latter held firm to take the flag a mere 0.4 seconds to wrap up his first win, and a 1-2 finish for the Farnham-based team.

That race also heralded a welcome return to the rostrum for Phinsys by Argenti’s Marcos Flack, the Australian making a late move on Askey to pick up his first silverware since Snetterton in June.
And a strong weekend for Michael Meadows’ outfit was rounded out nicely with a maiden podium finish for Aiden Neate, the 15-year-old taking third in the final race after keeping Zagazeta honest for the runner-up spot in the closing laps.

In the Rookie Cup, Rees remains out front by 40 points from Cresswell, who jumps back ahead of Ollie Gray (Fortec) into second spot, and Gray’s Fortec Motorsport team retain their Teams Cup advantage by a reduced 55-point margin over JHR Developments.

After a quick-fire turnaround, Ford’s rising stars will be back in action at Silverstone, Northamptonshire, this weekend (25-26 September).