James Hedley ended his debut weekend in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost on a high with a controlled victory in the ITV4-televised final race at Donington Park.
The JHR Developments racer made the better start from the front row and swept around the outside of polesitter Roberto Faria (Fortec Motorsport) to take the lead into Redgate on the opening lap.
Luke Browning and Zak O’Sullivan also made a good getaway from the second row, getting past at Schwantz Curve to promote themselves into second and third respectively.
The safety car made an early appearance after contact between Hedley’s JHR team mate Abbi Pulling and Arden’s Roman Bilinski left the former stuck in the gravel with damage on the exit of the Roberts chicane; Bilinski was able to continue after pitting for a replacement front wing.
Hedley stole a march at the restart, establishing a 1.6-second cushion over a charging Browning, O’Sullivan, Faria, Casper Stevenson and Matias Zagazeta.
Despite Browning’s best efforts, including a series of purple sectors and the outright fastest lap of the race, Hedley was able to hold his fellow Ginetta graduate at arm’s length and took the flag just over a second clear to spark jubilant scenes in parc ferme.
O’Sullivan rounded out the rostrum behind Browning, helping him to establish a provisional 16-point lead at the top of the standings after the opening triple header of the campaign.
Faria took fourth to consolidate a solid weekend, whilst Zagazeta overhauled Stevenson after the restart to round out the top five, and with it seal the honours in the Rookie Cup.
Stevenson made it a hat-trick of points finishes for the weekend in sixth, with Carlin’s Christian Mansell behind to make it a 1-2 Rookie finish for Trevor Carlin’s eponymous team.
Alex Connor will be frustrated to only finish eighth despite a late charge having begun the weekend in the winner’s circle, but will look forward to next weekend as he revisits the scene of his maiden pole positions – and podium – in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series.
Rafael Villagomez ran up at the front early on but slipped back to ninth by the flag, with Frederick Lubin tenth to complete a strong debut weekend in single seaters.
Nico Pino (Argenti), the recovering Bilinski and Reema Juffali (Argenti) round out the finishers, with Nathanael Hodgkiss another casualty at Roberts in the closing stages.
The F4 British Championship returns to action in just five days’ time, at Brands Hatch (GP) on 07-09 August.
Provisional Classification – Round 3
|1||James HEDLEY||JHR Developments||16 laps|
|2||Luke BROWNING||Fortec Motorsport||+1.060s|
|4||Roberto FARIA||Fortec Motorsport||+7.901s|
|6||Casper STEVENSON||Argenti Motorsport||+9.492s|
|8||Alex CONNOR||Arden Motorsport||+16.283s|
|9||Rafael VILLAGOMEZ||Fortec Motorsport||+17.566s|
|10||Frederick LUBIN||Arden Motorsport||+20.473s|
|11||Nico PINO||Argenti Motorsport||+22.817s|
|12||Roman BILINSKI||Arden Motorsport||+25.254s|
|13||Reema JUFFALI||Argenti Motorsport||+27.032s|
|DNF||Nathanael HODGKISS||JHR Developments|
|DNF||Abbi PULLING||JHR Developments|