Fortec Motorsport’s Joel Granfors claimed a maiden victory in an action-packed reverse grid race to end the opening day of F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost action at Thruxton.
Starting on the fifth row, the Swede made solid progress in the early laps to run fourth behind a three-car battle for the race lead, with pole-sitter David Morales (Arden Motorsport) bravely fending off Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak (Carlin) and a rapid Abbi Pulling (JHR Developments).
A move by Inthraphuvasak to the inside of Morales at Club chicane on the sixth lap elevated him to the race lead, and with Pulling delayed as a result, Granfors seized the opportunity to make it four cars in a line vying for the honours.
Pulling made her way past Morales on the inside line at Allard shortly thereafter, and contact whilst disputing the race lead with Inthraphuvasak at the Complex gave Granfors a golden opportunity to capitalise, one the 15-year-old took full advantage of to move into the lead on the outside of Village.
Pulling did manage – briefly – to lead, before the pair came together through the middle of the Club chicane, pitching the #49 challenger partially into the air and back across the circuit. Pulling was able to resume, albeit down at the back of the field as Granfors continued out front.
That incident is set to be reviewed by race officials on Sunday morning, but for now Granfors takes a first victory in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series, secured by a margin of 0.9 seconds from Morales, who re-grouped after falling back to claim second spot, and his first podium in the category.
James Hedley (Carlin) enjoyed a solid run through the chaos to round out the rostrum, the home hero able to celebrate with silverware and reduce the championship arrears to chief rival Matthew Rees (JHR) to a mere two points, the latter taking the chequered flag in seventh.
Eduardo Coseteng enjoyed an improved run to fourth after disappointment in the earlier race, the Phinsys by Argenti racer also taking a second Rookie Cup victory of the campaign on the site of his first back in May.
Team-mate Aiden Neate joined him on the rostrum after surviving an incident at the Club chicane that left JHR’s McKenzy Cresswell backwards into the tyre barriers, and out of contention from then-fifth on the road.
The pair were split by Oliver Gray, who still waits to find out if he will be awarded a maiden race victory from earlier in the day after Matias Zagazeta appealed against his 1-second time penalty, and on this occasion rose through from the very back on the grid to take sixth.
Rees was seventh to conserve his championship lead, with Arden Motorsport’s Zak Taylor a further four tenths of a second back to round out the regular points-paying positions in eighth.
Joseph Loake (JHR) and Dougie Bolger (Carlin) rounded out the top ten, the pair avoiding a repeat of their race one collision this time around, the gap at the chequered flag a remarkable 0.004s.
Pulling eventually took the chequered flag a distant 11th, the other two finishers both hitting strife; Matias Zagazeta was forced to pit with a tyre issue, Kai Askey had to pit for a puncture in the same incident that took Marcos Flack (Argenti) out of the race, and both Cresswell and Inthraphuvasak’s races were ended prematurely by their respective incidents.
The weekend concludes with Sunday’s ITV4-televised finale at 14:55 (BST).