Matias Zagazeta quickest on drying track in first practice

Phinsys by Argenti’s Matias Zagazeta set the benchmark time on a drying track surface in the opening F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost practice session of the weekend at Oulton Park.

The Peruvian, returning to action on the back of his maiden victory in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series at Brands Hatch last month, clocked a 1:25.365 around the 2.2-mile Island circuit to end the 45-minute session two tenths clear of Fortec Motorsport’s Joel Granfors.

Much of the opening 25 minutes was spent under red flag stoppages after two cars – Arden’s Thomas Ikin and Argenti’s Eduardo Coseteng – had off-track excursions at Island Hairpin four minutes apart in the tricky conditions.

When the session resumed, it was initially Carlin’s quartet that powered to the top of the times, first Roman Bilinski, then Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak by a further thousandth of a second, before finally Dougie Bolger took top spot as the track continued to dry out after overnight rain, with Kai Askey moving up into fourth.

JHR Developments’ Abbi Pulling, who recently starred on the British Grand Prix support package in W Series, then became the first driver to break the 1:30 barrier, but was usurped by Bilinski, who then in turn lost out to Zagazeta on each driver’s final run.

Pulling was eventually classified fourth behind Argenti racer Marcos Flack, the Australian showing a good turn of pace in the mixed conditions. Pulling’s team-mate – and points leader James Hedley’s closest challenger – Matthew Rees rounds out the top five.

Ollie Gray was sixth fastest, a tenth clear of Zak Taylor in the leading Arden challenger, with Roman Bilinski, Hedley and JHR’s Joseph Loake rounding out the top ten.

Askey and Inthraphuvasak finished 11th and 12th respectively, with McKenzy Cresswell 13th in the final JHR car. Just 0.039s split Bolger and Aiden Neate (Argenti) behind, the runners completed by David Morales (Arden), Georgi Dimitrov (Richardson) and the stricken machines of Ikin and Coseteng.

The weekend continues with Free Practice 2 at 14:40 (BST).