Maiden victory for Zak Taylor, Arden 1-2 in reverse grid race

Zak Taylor made it five different race winners from the opening seven rounds of the 2021 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost season after celebrating a maiden triumph in the opening contest of the weekend at Brands Hatch.

Starting fifth, a lightning getaway from the Gloucestershire teenager saw him charge up to the back of Arden Motorsport team-mates Thomas Ikin and David Morales as the pair disputed the race lead on the run through Paddock Hill Bend for the first time.

With Ikin ducking to the outside in an attempt to pass Morales, Taylor seized the opportunity to take the inside line and moved through into the runner-up spot, before the lead changed hands on the inside of Druids on the second tour.

From there, Taylor set about building his lead, which peaked at 4.5 seconds before a mid-race safety car for Morales, Marcos Flack and Eduardo Coseteng (Phinsys by Argenti)’s stranded cars at Druids threw the outcome into doubt.

When it resumed, Taylor caught the field napping, powering clear on the run out of Surtees to steal a march, and he duly went unchallenged to notch his first victory in single seaters and, with Ikin taking the flag second, to lead home an Arden 1-2 finish.

If the battle for the race victory was straightforward, the one for the final spot on the rostrum was anything but.

With Morales out of the race, Carlin’s Dougie Bolger moved up into third, and defended well from a charging James Hedley (Fortec Motorsport) – up from the fifth row of the grid to fourth after the safety car – including a hair-rising dive to the inside at Paddock.

Bolger defended well, forcing Hedley to abort the move and the resulting loss of momentum gave Abbi Pulling (JHR Developments) the perfect opportunity to strike on the run up Hailwood Hill, the W Series reserve driver duly making a move stick to annex fourth.

Hedley’s team-mate Ollie Gray then followed Pulling through to fifth spot, with Aiden Neate (Phinsys by Argenti) closing in after a superb run in his debut single seater race on home turf.

Contact was made at Graham Hill Bend, however, with Hedley off-circuit and then dropping back through the pack, the championship leader eventually taking the flag in 15th.

Pulling, meanwhile, set up a move on Bolger out of Clearways on the final lap and, after getting a run on the Japanese racer, was able to get the better run down to the chequered flag and scored a first podium of the 2021 season by just 0.2 seconds.

Bolger had to settle for fourth ahead of Gray, the duo completing the Rookie podium behind Ikin, with Neate sixth after surviving that contact with Hedley on the final tour.

Roman Bilinski (Carlin) made solid forward progress to register seventh, making up six positions in the process, with Joel Granfors eighth for Fortec. Matthew Rees and McKenzy Cresswell (both JHR) made good progress from the back row and secured ninth and tenth respectively.

With Hedley non-scoring and Rees banking ten by virtue of the series’ new overtaking points for the reverse grid race, the Welsh racer now closes to within 15 points heading into Sunday’s double-header, and with a superb chance to seize the upper hand from pole position in Race 2. Ditto Cresswell, who shadowed his team-mate throughout the contest, fuelling excitement for their clash at the front tomorrow.

Kai Askey will start a career-best third in the final tomorrow but had to settle for 11th on this occasion, up three spots from his starting position, with Matias Zagazeta 12th in the other surviving Argenti challenger.

Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak was forced to pit with front wing damage and returned to the fray to finish 13th, the finished rounded out by Joseph Loake (JHR) after an off-track moment at Graham Hill Bend and Hedley.

Two more races take place on Sunday, scheduled to start at 10:00 and 13:50 respectively, the latter live on ITV3.

Provisional Race Result – Round 7:

Pos. Name Team Laps
1 Zak TAYLOR Arden Motorsport 19 laps
2 Thomas IKIN Arden Motorsport +1.287s
3 Abbi PULLING JHR Developments +1.994s
4 Dougie BOLGER Carlin +2.220s
5 Oliver GRAY Fortec Motorsport +2.293s
6 Aiden NEATE Phinsys by Argenti +3.117s
7 Roman BILINSKI Carlin +3.483s
8 Joel GRANFORS Fortec Motorsport +3.804s
9 Matthew REES JHR Developments +3.999s
10 McKenzy CRESSWELL JHR Developments +4.183s
11 Kai ASKEY Carlin +4.348s
12 Matias ZAGAZETA Phinsys by Argenti +4.507s
13 Tasanapol INTHRAPHUVASAK Carlin +4.808s
14 Joseph LOAKE JHR Developments +5.357s
15 James HEDLEY Fortec Motorsport +6.467s
DNF Georgi DIMITROV Richardson Racing +6 laps
DNF David MORALES Arden Motorsport +12 laps
DNF Marcos FLACK Phinsys by Argenti +12 laps
DNF Eduardo COSETENG Phinsys by Argenti +12 laps