Josh Skelton put his experience to good use to make a late improvement and top the timesheets in the opening F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost practice session in the Oulton Park sunshine.
The JHR Developments racer put in a best time of 1:24.108 seconds around the 2.26-mile Island circuit to earn the early bragging rights, edging out current championship leader Zane Maloney (Carlin) by a mere 0.103 seconds.
“I’m really pleased with how the session went, we were quick straight out of the blocks,” said Skelton.
“The team at JHR Developments worked really well together and completed a good testing plan. I still think there’s more time to be had because it wasn’t the perfect lap, but all in all I’m very happy and hope we can carry this on throughout the weekend.”
Skelton and Maloney’s improvements – which came about after a red-flag stoppage after Fortec Motorsport’s Roberto Faria went off at Island hairpin – denied local racer Luke Browning the top spot on home soil, with the Richardson Racing driver ending the session third, 0.147s adrift.
The Kingsley-based racer also needed a change of front wing after an off-track excursion, but held on ahead of the second Carlin machine of Joe Turney in fourth by just 0.014 seconds – clearly the triple-header of F4 British Championship contests are set to be decided by minute margins again this weekend!
Sebastian Alvarez, the other second-year driver in the Ford EcoBoost-powered series, led the line for Double R Racing in fifth, ahead of Arden Motorsport duo Tommy Foster and Bart Horsten.
Carter Williams was eighth despite setting an identical time to Horsten, Louis Foster – who has forecasted a strong weekend for the Woking-based Double R squad – was ninth, with Alex Connor rounding out the top ten in the final Arden machine.
Championship newcomer Alex Walker put the final of three JHR cars eleventh quickest, just 0.3s adrift of the top ten, with Faria twelfth despite his incident. Reema Juffali edged out Mariano Martinez for thirteenth and fourteenth, 0.6s between the two.
The second practice session at Oulton Park is due to get underway at 16:00 BST.
Free Practice 1 – Provisional Result
|1||Josh SKELTON||JHR Developments||1m24.108s|
|2||Zane MALONEY (R)||Carlin||+0.103s|
|3||Luke BROWNING||Richardson Racing||+0.147s|
|4||Joe TURNEY (R)||Carlin||+0.161s|
|5||Sebastian ALVAREZ||Double R Racing||+0.281s|
|6||Tommy FOSTER||Arden Motorsport||+0.337s|
|7||Bart HORSTEN||Arden Motorsport||+0.482s|
|8||Carter WILLIAMS||JHR Developments||+0.482s|
|9||Louis FOSTER||Double R Racing||+0.601s|
|10||Alex CONNOR (R)||Arden Motorsport||+1.042s|
|11||Alex WALKER (R)||JHR Developments||+1.404s|
|12||Roberto FARIA (R)||Fortec Motorsport||+2.184s|
|13||Reema JUFFALI||Double R Racing||+2.484s|
|14||Mariano MARTINEZ||Fortec Motorsport||+3.118s|