Local racer Hedley flies to top spot in opening practice

JHR Developments’ James Hedley stormed to the top of the timesheets to kick off his home event in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost at Thruxton in fine fashion.

The BRDC Rising Star clocked a best time of 1:13.341 – just a tenth of a second adrift of the qualifying lap record – around the high-speed 2.3-mile Hampshire circuit to beat erstwhile session leader Casper Stevenson (Argenti) by three tenths of a second.

It marks a continuation of Hedley’s form at Thruxton; the 16-year old set the pace in testing back in July, and won a race on home turf en route to his Ginetta Junior title last season.

Abbi Pulling completed a strong session for Steven Hunter’s outfit in fourth, just behind Stevenson and Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan.

Alex Connor (Arden Motorsport) rounded out the top-five and went quickest among the second-year drivers returning to Thruxton; points leader Luke Browning (Fortec) had to settle for sixth, half a second behind Hedley.

Christian Mansell (Carlin) was separated from chief Rookie Cup title rival Frederick Lubin (Arden) by a slender 0.023s in seventh and eighth, with Reema Juffali making it both Argenti cars inside the top ten, the Saudi Arabian racer claiming ninth spot.

Fortec’s Rafael Villagomez rounded out the top ten on his return to the paddock after another solid outing overseas in French F4.

Roman Bilinski was eleventh in the final Red Arrow, just half a tenth further back, with Matias Zagazeta (Carlin) rounding out the field after a mechanical issue forced his car to stop out on circuit, and cut into his running.

The weekend continues with Free Practice 2 at 14:30 (BST)

Session Result – Free Practice 1

Pos. Name Team Time Laps
1 James HEDLEY JHR Developments 1:13.341s 23
2 Casper STEVENSON Argenti Motorsport +0.361s 25
3 Zak O’SULLIVAN Carlin +0.400s 23
4 Abbi PULLING JHR Developments +0.534s 23
5 Alex CONNOR Arden Motorsport +0.585s 20
6 Luke BROWNING Fortec Motorsport +0.595s 23
7 Christian MANSELL Carlin +0.674s 23
8 Frederick LUBIN Arden Motorsport +0.697s 23
9 Reema JUFFALI Argenti Motorsport +0.762s 25
10 Rafael VILLAGOMEZ Fortec Motorsport +0.830s 26
11 Roman BILINSKI Arden Motorsport +0.882s 22
12 Matias ZAGAZETA Carlin +2.254s 12