Hedley extends early advantage with reverse-grid victory

James Hedley made it a double after storming through to another victory in the first-ever F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost race to feature a fully-reversed grid, and the second of the weekend at Thruxton.

Starting on the fourth row, the Fortec Motorsport racer made his way to the front during an eventful opening few laps, including notable passes on Marcos Flack at Allard and around the outside of Roman Bilinski at Goodwood, the latter giving him third on the road.

He then made it to the inside of Arden’s Zak Taylor at the Club chicane, before dispatching his team-mate and pole-sitter Thomas Ikin after the 5-minute mark to take the race lead.

From there, Hedley broke the tow as the rest continue to fight tooth and nail, and duly extended his advantage to 7.3 seconds at the chequered flag to make it five straight victories in his F4 career at Thruxton and cement his early championship lead.

Conversely, the battle for the remaining spots on the podium went right down to the wire.

Initially, the fight raged on between the two Red Arrows, with Taylor passing Ikin to assume second, but the two then ran nose to tail for much of the race.

They were caught by Fortec’s Joel Granfors and the leading Carlin challenger of Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak, making it a four-car train for second through fifth.

In a sublime move, Granfors was able to dart to the inside of Ikin, whilst Inthraphuvasak chose the outside as the trio ran three-wide into Club; both passed Ikin, but it was Swedish racer Granfors that moved ahead.

Taylor then produced one of the series’ greatest defensive drives to keep Granfors at bay, but eventually the latter made a move stick at Club to complete a second 1-2 finish for Daventry-based Fortec in a row.

Taylor still banked a maiden podium finish on his first weekend in single seaters, leading home Inthraphuvasak in third and fourth respectively.

Ikin took victory in the Rookie Cup stakes, but was passed late on by a charging Abbi Pulling, the JHR Developments racer rocketing up the field from the back row to complete the top five, making ten passes in the process.

That meant sixth for Ikin, with the points finishers completed by another of the JHR quartet, McKenzy Cresswell, and Carlin’s Roman Bilinski, who made a strong start to run at the front but dropped back after contact with Flack at the Complex, the latter spinning round.

Matias Zagazeta raced to ninth in the leading Phinsys by Argenti entry, with Joseph Loake completing the top ten for JHR; under the new points system for race two, both missed out, but produced some thrilling wheel-to-wheel action nonetheless.

Oliver Gray completed the Rookie podium in 11th overall, just ahead of the recovering Flack. Matthew Rees (JHR) led Dougie Bolger (Carlin), whilst Eduardo Coseteng was tagged into a spin at Club on the opening tour and left at the back; he took the flag 15th.

Kai Askey was the only retiree from the race, the Carlin driver suffering an apparent mechanical issue.

The final race of the weekend is scheduled to get underway at 16:30 (UK time), live on ITV4.

Click here for the full race result.