- Reigning champions Double R set the pace in the opening practice session with Louis Foster quickest.
- Strength of competition in Ford’s winning formula underlined once again, with the top five split by just 0.3 seconds.
- Second practice due to get underway at 13:25 BST around 1.97-mile Leicestershire circuit.
Louis Foster set the pace in the opening F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost practice session at Donington Park, with the Double R Racing driver putting in a series of consistent improvements on his second run to top the timesheets.
His best effort – a 1m08.093s around the 1.97-mile Leicestershire circuit – sits just 0.332s from the lap record and proved enough to edge out Carlin’s Zane Maloney by a slender margin of 0.167s.
The strength in depth of competition in the Ford EcoBoost-powered series was underlined yet again in the East Midlands, with the top five covered by just 0.3 seconds, cementing the category’s reputation as the most competitive of its kind worldwide.
It was Arden Motorsport’s Tommy Foster that led the way during the first half of the session, initially trading best lap times with team-mate Bart Horsten, before fending off a brief challenge from JHR’s Josh Skelton to become the first to go into the 1m08s.
Championship leader Sebastian Alvarez (Double R) then took the bragging rights on the final lap of his first stint out on-circuit, lowering the benchmark to 1m08.986s as the field headed en masse to the pit lane with 25 minutes left on the clock.
The second half of the session brought about a series of quickfire improvements, but Foster underlined his form ahead of this weekends triple-header by matching each improvement – only namesake Tommy could wrest top spot from him, and even then it only lasted for 25 seconds.
“I’m really pleased with this morning,” said Foster.
“It’s great to start on the front foot going into a race weekend. We still have things to improve on as ever, but I’m feeling confident so we’ll see what we can do this afternoon.
“The team and I know what we’re capable of here at Donington, so it’s just going to be a case of putting it all together.”
Reigning champions Double R looked to be heading for a 1-2 finish in the closing exchanges, with Alvarez improving to P2 behind team-mate Foster, but a late charge from Carlin’s Zane Maloney denied the Woking-based outfit that particular triumph.
Alvarez was therefore forced to settle for third ahead of Skelton, with Tommy Foster eventually rounding out an ultra-competitive top five. Brands Hatch race-winner Luke Browning ended the session on the fringes of that squabble in sixth, with the second JHR machine of Carter Williams seventh.
Horsten was eighth, with Joe Turney – back in at Carlin for this weekend and the next meeting at Thruxton – ninth on his first-ever visit to Donington. Alex Connor – now eligible to make his debut this weekend with Arden – rounds out the top ten.
Fortec Motorsport duo Roberto Faria and Mariano Martinez were eleventh and twelfth respectively, the former aiming to add to his tally of three Rookie Cup podiums in Kent, with Reema Juffali rounding out the field in thirteenth.
The second practice session is scheduled to get underway at 13:25 BST.
|1||Louis FOSTER||Double R Racing||1m08.093s|
|2||Zane MALONEY (R)||Carlin||+0.167s|
|3||Sebastian ALVAREZ||Double R Racing||+0.263s|
|4||Josh SKELTON||JHR Developments||+0.263s|
|5||Tommy FOSTER||Arden Motorsport||+0.352s|
|6||Luke BROWNING||Richardson Racing||+0.451s|
|7||Carter WILLIAMS||JHR Developments||+0.639s|
|8||Bart HORSTEN||Arden Motorsport||+0.805s|
|9||Joe TURNEY (R)||Carlin||+0.828s|
|10||Alex CONNOR (R)||Arden Motorsport||+1.107s|
|11||Roberto FARIA (R)||Fortec Motorsport||+1.508s|
|12||Mariano MARTINEZ||Fortec Motorsport||+2.062s|
|13||Reema JUFFALI||Double R Racing||+2.179s|