James Hedley led home a 1-2 finish for JHR Developments in the final F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost race of the weekend at Thruxton to complete an emphatic hat-trick.
The BRDC Rising Star led from lights-to-flag, and after a perfect start set about amassing a comfortable 7.8-second lead back to team mate Abbi Pulling at the chequered flag.
Hedley leaves his home event with a perfect scorecard, his trio of victories injecting new life into his championship bid. He also extended JHR’s recent run of success at the high-speed 2.3-mile Hampshire circuit, with Steven Hunter’s outfit now on a six-race winning streak at Thruxton.
Pulling soaked up race-long pressure from Argenti Motorsport’s Casper Stevenson to seal a career-best result of second, sparking jubilant scenes in the pit lane, not least from driver coach and W Series star Alice Powell!
Stevenson had a few opportunities to wrest the position away, at one stage locking up into Club chicane whilst attempting a move around the outside, but Pulling ultimately did enough to keep him at bay, the gap between them across the line just a tenth of a second.
Stevenson will be consoled with his own triple – in this case podium finishes – and, with championship leader Luke Browning (Fortec) behind in fourth, and the other chief title contender Zak O’Sullivan last after problems off the line, he continues to gain ground on them in the standings.
The opening laps proved lively for Browning; at the back after a penalty for the start-line collision yesterday, he made a trademark start to dispatch four cars within the opening half a lap, elevating himself to sixth.
More drama followed, this time at Campbell, the Fortec racer tangling with Carlin’s Christian Mansell and Arden’s Alex Connor on the apex. Both Browning and Mansell survived, the later albeit with slight front wing damage, but Connor was spun round and re-joined at the back.
Undeterred, he then lived up to the ‘Red Arrow’ nickname adopted by his team and flew through the order, culminating in a challenge for Browning’s fourth place in the closing laps.
Like Stevenson, he too got close, but came within two tenths of wresting the position back away and rounds out the top five on this occasion after a spirited performance.
Roman Bilinski (Arden) eventually won through a superb battle for sixth to round out a strong weekend for the Polish racer, the decisive move past Mansell eventually coming out of the Club chicane after a slight mistake for the Australian.
Mansell was able to keep Bilinski’s team mate Frederick Lubin at bay, and with it scored another valuable win in the Rookie Cup stakes, the pair split by 0.2 seconds at the flag.
Rafael Villagomez (Fortec) rounded out the class podium and thrilled the ITV2 audience with an epic battle alongside Reema Juffali (Argenti) for ninth and tenth outright.
An attempted pass on Lubin from Juffali gave Villagomez the opportunity to seize the upper hand on the outside of Campbell, but the Saudi Arabian racer fought back in style, sending it to the inside at Goodwood to reverse the positions once again.
That battle continued lap-on-lap, but eventually Villagomez was able to make a move stick into Allard to secure the position.
Both in turn had to be wary with Carlin racer Matias Zagazeta waiting in the wings to pounce on any mistake; he ultimately took 11th ahead of O’Sullivan.
It’s another quick turnaround for Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series, with the category set to return to action at Silverstone, Northants, next weekend [26-27 September].
Race Result – Round 15
|1||James HEDLEY||JHR Developments||17 laps|
|2||Abbi PULLING||JHR Developments||+7.880s|
|3||Casper STEVENSON||Argenti Motorsport||+8.009s|
|4||Luke BROWNING||Fortec Motorsport||+9.929s|
|5||Alex CONNOR||Arden Motorsport||+10.163s|
|6||Roman BILINSKI||Arden Motorsport||+17.360s|
|8||Frederick LUBIN||Arden Motorsport||+19.080s|
|9||Rafael VILLAGOMEZ||Fortec Motorsport||+22.765s|
|10||Reema JUFFALI||Argenti Motorsport||+22.892s|