Hedley breaks JHR strangehold in Oulton Park qualifying

Championship leader James Hedley became the first non-JHR driver to take a pole position in the 2021 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost after mastering the changing conditions at Oulton Park.

Pitting after his first run to enable his Fortec Motorsport team to make the switch to wet-compound Hankook tyres and adjust the car setup accordingly, the BRDC Rising Star set a series of increasingly quick lap times to rise to top spot on the timesheets.

Despite being pushed all the way by JHR’s Joseph Loake, a 1:33.678 set on his final run proved enough for Hedley to take top spot, his first pole position in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series since Thruxton in 2020. And, with the quickest second-best lap time, the Poole-based driver will also start with a clear road ahead for the ITV4-televised finale on Sunday as he looks to extend his points lead.

Loake looked on course for a first front-row start since the season opener at Thruxton, but was denied by a last gasp effort from chief title rival Matthew Rees, albeit half a second shy of Hedley’s benchmark time.

Loake, eventually third, will line up alongside Eduardo Coseteng (Phinsys by Argenti) on the second row, the Filipino racer taking a career-best fourth. Practice pace-setter Matias Zagazeta rounds out the top five in the second Argenti challenger.

Carlin’s Roman Bilinski also secured a season-best starting slot in sixth, the Polish racer aiming for a repeat of his recent heroics in British F3 on his return to Formula 4 action.

Team-mate Dougie Bolger will start seventh, leading a quartet of contenders in the Rookie Cup stakes split by a little under a second – Ollie Gray (Fortec), Aiden Neate (Argenti), Kai Askey (Carlin) and Marcos Flack (Argenti), in that order.

Joel Granfors is next in the final Fortec machine alongside an improved run for Richardson Racing’s Georgi Dimitrov, the British-Bulgarian racer no doubt aiming to make further progress from P13.

Abbi Pulling and McKenzy Cresswell (JHR) both lost out in the late-session surge for wet tyres and will start P14 and P15, the former having run as high as provisional pole earlier in the running.

Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak is in an all-Arden Motorsport sandwich for the opening race, starting behind Brands Hatch winner Zak Taylor and ahead of David Morales and Thomas Ikin, the latter on reverse grid pole for Race 2.

Two races follow later today (31 July), with lights out at 14:10 and 17:35 BST respectively.

To view full session results, click here.