James Hedley soaked up race-long pressure from chief title rival Matthew Rees to win the opening F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost race of the weekend at Oulton Park.
The pair made a level start from the front row but, crucially, it was BRDC Rising Star Hedley who made it to Old Hall first, the Fortec Motorsport racer extending his advantage in the early laps before a late-race charge from Rees reeled him back in.
Although JHR racer Rees got close, he ultimately had to settle for second on the road behind Hedley, who took the chequered flag a mere 0.2 seconds clear to stretch his championship lead to 28 points, including the Motul Fastest Lap Award.
Joseph Loake (JHR) kept the sparring title contenders within his sights for the duration, but ultimately no opportunity to capitalise presented itself and he crossed the line third to score a first visit to the rostrum since his victory at Thruxton in May.
Loake had to resist pressure from a fast-starting Roman Bilinski, the Carlin racer moving up from sixth to fourth on the opening tour of the 2.2-mile Island circuit, but as tyre wear became a greater factor, he was released and enjoyed a clear run to the final step of the podium.
Fourth still represents a season-best result for Bilinski, who similarly had to fend off a charging Ollie Gray in the second Fortec challenger in the closing laps, the Brit eventually rounding out the top five.
Dougie Bolger moved forward one spot to sixth and completed the Rookie Cup rostrum behind Gray and Rees, who usurps team-mate McKenzy Cresswell for top spot in the class standings after the latter finished P13.
Phinsys by Argenti’s Aiden Neate turned in another impressive performance despite a relative lack of experience compared to the competition, moving forward from ninth to seventh, including a late pass on team-mate Eduardo Coseteng.
Marcos Flack would also capitalise to take eighth, with Coseteng ninth. The battle for tenth spot and the final point was hard-fought, but eventually went the way of Carlin’s Kai Askey.
Joel Granfors made it forward progress for all three Fortec cars in 11th, the Swede taking the flag just seven tenths shy of Askey ahead. A pair of Arden Motorsport’s Red Arrows bookended Cresswell’s 13th place finish, with Zak Taylor ahead and Thomas Ikin behind.
Georgi Dimitrov was 15th in the Richardson Racing entry, the British-Bulgarian racer having fought his way up into the points early on before slipping back as the race wore on. Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak (Carlin) and David Morales (Arden) complete the finishers, but will be relishing the opportunity the reverse grid race provides at 17:35 (BST) this afternoon.
Two drivers unfortunately failed to finish; Matias Zagazeta suffered a mechanical problem off the line, and was forced to pit at the end of the opening lap, whilst damage to the front wing halted a charging performance from Abbi Pulling in the last of JHR’s quartet of challengers.
Provisional Result – Round 10
|1||James HEDLEY||Fortec Motorsport||15 laps|
|2||Matthew REES||JHR Developments||+0.240s|
|3||Joseph LOAKE||JHR Developments||+0.912s|
|5||Ollie GRAY||Fortec Motorsport||+3.890s|
|7||Aiden NEATE||Phinsys by Argenti||+5.948s|
|8||Marcos FLACK||Phinsys by Argenti||+7.797s|
|9||Eduardo COSETENG||Phinsys by Argenti||+9.293s|
|11||Joel GRANFORS||Fortec Motorsport||+10.830s|
|12||Zak TAYLOR||Arden Motorsport||+14.257s|
|13||McKenzy CRESSWELL||JHR Developments||+14.677s|
|14||Thomas IKIN||Arden Motorsport||+16.046s|
|15||Georgi DIMITROV||Richardson Racing||+17.687s|
|17||David MORALES||Arden Motorsport||+28.334s|
|DNF||Abbi PULLING||JHR Developments||+3 laps|
|DNF||Matias ZAGAZETA||Phinsys by Argenti||+14 laps|