James Hedley masters the conditions to take Oulton Park pole

JHR Developments’ James Hedley made the best of a drying track to secure pole position for the opening F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost race of the weekend at Oulton Park.

A rain shower moments before the cars headed out on the 2.23-mile Cheshire circuit forced several teams into a few last-minute setup tweaks, although the showers remained light enough to keep the field on slicks.

With the track surface improving lap-on-lap, the majority of the field opted to stay out on circuit for the duration of the 20-minute session on a single set of new tyres; managing their condition and judging when best to push would be crucial.

Hedley cracked the formula, clocking a best time of 1:23.533 on his final flying effort to claim top spot, with Fortec Motorsport’s Luke Browning for company on the front row, just 0.041 seconds adrift.

The roles will be reversed for the ITV4-televised final race on Sunday evening, with Browning ahead of Hedley on their second-best lap times.

The pair were among a number of drivers trading the fastest lap time on rotation across the final five minutes, including championship leader Zak O’Sullivan (Carlin), who ended the session third, a further tenth of a second back.

Arden’s Alex Connor took the chequered flag first among those improving late on and starts fourth, with Fortec’s Roberto Faria rounding out the top five.

Casper Stevenson (Argenti Motorsport) improved on his final effort to bank sixth ahead of Roman Bilinski (Arden), the second Red Arrow putting in a good showing in seventh.

Abbi Pulling (JHR) was eighth, Nico Pino (Argenti) ninth and Frederick Lubin made it all three Arden cars inside the top ten.

The grid for the opening race at 14:15 BST today is completed by Nathanael Hodgkiss (JHR), Matias Zagazeta, Christian Mansell (both Carlin) and Argenti’s Reema Juffali.

Provisional Grid – Round 7

Pos. Name Team Time Laps
1 James HEDLEY JHR Developments 1:23.556 13
2 Luke BROWNING Fortec Motorsport +0.041s 13
3 Zak O’SULLIVAN Carlin +0.127s 13
4 Alex CONNOR Arden Motorsport +0.437s 12
5 Roberto FARIA Fortec Motorsport +0.555s 13
6 Casper STEVENSON Argenti Motorsport +0.614s 13
7 Roman BILINSKI Arden Motorsport +0.702s 13
8 Abbi PULLING JHR Developments +1.023s 12
9 Nico PINO Argenti Motorsport +1.689s 12
10 Frederick LUBIN Arden Motorsport +1,741s 12
11 Nathanael HODGKISS JHR Developments +1.808s 13
12 Christian MANSELL Carlin +1.840s 9
13 Matias ZAGAZETA Carlin +1.912s 12
14 Reema JUFFALI Argenti Motorsport +2.383s 12

Provisional Grid – Round 9

Pos. Name Team Time Laps
1 Luke BROWNING Fortec Motorsport 1:23.612 13
2 James HEDLEY JHR Developments +0.190s 13
3 Zak O’SULLIVAN Carlin +0.452s 13
4 Alex CONNOR Arden Motorsport +0.464s 12
5 Roberto FARIA Fortec Motorsport +0.591s 13
6 Casper STEVENSON Argenti Motorsport +0.688s 13
7 Abbi PULLING JHR Developments +1.110s 12
8 Roman BILINSKI Arden Motorsport +1.225s 13
9 Frederick LUBIN Arden Motorsport +1.746s 12
10 Nathanael HODGKISS JHR Developments +2.111s 13
11 Nico PINO Argenti Motorsport +2.125s 12
12 Christian MANSELL Carlin +2.514s 9
13 Matias ZAGAZETA Carlin +2.710s 12
14 Reema JUFFALI Argenti Motorsport +3.252s 12