JHR Developments’ Matthew Rees stuck late to deny team-mate Abbi Pulling and secure a double pole position on his debut in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost at Thruxton.
Heavy rain overnight and throughout the morning meant Ford’s rising stars were greeted at Thruxton – already a formidable challenge in itself – by a soaked circuit, making wet tyres the order of the day for their first outing of the weekend.
Welsh racer Rees led the way for the majority of the running, but team-mate Pulling looked to have taken top spot away right at the last with a final flier of 1:22.237. Rees, a little further back around the lap, was able to respond, and his 1:22.131 returned him to pole at the chequered flag by a tenth of a second.
JHR’s recent record at the high-speed, 2.3-mile Hampshire circuit – six victories from the last six – looks likely to continue, as the Derbyshire-based team completed an impressive 1-2-3-4 lockout, with newcomers McKenzy Cresswell and Joseph Loake annexing third and fourth spots on the grid.
Rees was also able to secure the fastest second-best lap time of the session, which means he’ll also start up front for the ITV4-televised final race on Sunday, with Loake alongside on that occasion ahead of Cresswell and Pulling.
Carlin’s Dougie Bolger mixed it with the JHR quartet throughout the session and ultimately rounded out the top five, just a further tenth back from Loake.
Team-mate Kai Askey was seventh, the pair split by karting graduate Oliver Gray on his first appearance for reigning champions Fortec Motorsport, whilst the other two Fortec cars, James Hedley and Joel Granfors, rounded out the top ten behind Matias Zagazeta (Argenti) in ninth and tenth respectively.
Carlin duo Roman Bilinski and Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak were 11th and 12th, ahead of the leading ‘Red Arrow’ of Zak Taylor (Arden) in 13th.
Marcos Flack, Eduardo Coseteng (both Argenti) and Arden’s Thomas Ikin round out the 16 runners, the latter taking reverse-grid pole position for Round 2 on Sunday.
The opening race of the season gets underway at 15:25 (UK time) this afternoon.
Qualifying – Session Result:
|1||Matthew REES||JHR Developments||1:22.131s|
|2||Abbi PULLING||JHR Developments||+0.106s|
|3||McKenzy CRESSWELL||JHR Developments||+0.327s|
|4||Joseph LOAKE||JHR Developments||+0.338s|
|6||Oliver GRAY||Fortec Motorsport||+0.569s|
|8||Matias ZAGAZETA||Argenti Motorsport||+0.756s|
|9||James HEDLEY||Fortec Motorsport||+0.834s|
|10||Joel GRANFORS||Fortec Motorsport||+0.844s|
|13||Zak TAYLOR||Arden Motorsport||+1.215s|
|14||Marcos FLACK||Argenti Motorsport||+1.271s|
|15||Eduardo COSETENG||Argenti Motorsport||+1.560s|
|16||Thomas IKIN||Arden Motorsport||+2.796s|