Hedley cuts through the chaos as title rivals collide at Thruxton

JHR Developments’ James Hedley took full advantage of a first-corner collision between Zak O’Sullivan, Luke Browning and Alex Connor and fended off another late charge from Casper Stevenson to double up in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost at Thruxton.

Hedley, starting fifth after his victory from pole position earlier today, saw the road ahead open up as championship leader Browning, chief rival O’Sullivan and fourth-placed Connor made contact on the apex at Allard, spinning the Carlin racer round as Browning and Connor both dropped back with damage.

He timed the move to perfection and rose from the third row to the race lead in one move, netting him a comfortable lead in the absence of a safety car stoppage.

Stevenson, meanwhile, had been forced to brake and avoid the incident, putting him back in the pack. He duly rose through the order, first passing Hedley’s JHR team mate Abbi Pulling for fifth at the chicane, and then both Frederick Lubin and Roman Bilinski (both Arden) with a pair of moves at the Complex to elevate himself to second behind Hedley.

The Argenti Motorsport racer’s progress was relentless in pursuit of a maiden win, the scholarship winner shaving off a few tenths of a second per lap to reduce the arrears, but Hedley was able to just hold him at arm’s length to seal a second victory of the day by 0.3 seconds.

He will be hoping to make it a hat-trick on home turf in Hampshire tomorrow, starting from pole position once again by virtue of his second-fastest times in qualifying.

Stevenson made it a brace of runner-up finishes for the day, with Bilinski third after coming out on top of the all-Arden battle for the final spot on the rostrum. Lubin will be pleased with a career equal-best fourth, however, the Brit also claiming his own personal double victory in the Rookie Cup stakes to thin Christian Mansell’s lead still further.

Pulling rounded out the top five after fending off late pressure from Browning, who recovered through the field well despite minor damage to his front wing.

The points leader rejoined eighth after the first corner contact, and was able to pass both Mansell and Argenti’s Reema Juffali shortly after to put himself in Pulling’s wheeltracks.

The JHR racer kept him at bay, however, the gap at the flag between them a photo finish at just 0.146 seconds.

Mansell was seventh, but second in class, holding off Fortec’s Rafael Villagomez by just under a second; Matias Zagazeta made a return to the points with Carlin in ninth.

O’Sullivan eventually rounded out the top ten, due in part to retirements for Juffali and Connor, the latter called into the pits with a black and orange flag for his early race damage.

The ITV2-televised finale will complete an action-packed weekend at Thruxton at 15:15 tomorrow [20 September].

Provisional Result – Round 14

Pos. Name Team Time
1 James HEDLEY JHR Developments 17 laps
2 Casper STEVENSON Argenti Motorsport +0.364s
3 Roman BILINSKI Arden Motorsport +4.385s
4 Frederick LUBIN Arden Motorsport +5.113s
5 Abbi PULLING JHR Developments +7.182s
6 Luke BROWNING Fortec Motorsport +7.328s
7 Christian MANSELL Carlin +18.104s
8 Rafael VILLAGOMEZ Fortec Motorsport +18.952s
9 Matias ZAGAZETA Carlin +25.071s
10 Zak O’SULLIVAN Carlin +49.769
DNF Reema JUFFALI Argenti Motorsport
DNF Alex CONNOR Arden Motorsport