Oliver Gray sets benchmark time in opening Thruxton practice

Fortec Motorsport’s Oliver Gray set the pace in the opening F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost practice session of the weekend at Thruxton.

The Brit clocked a fastest time of 1:13.042 – quick enough for a new lap record if he can repeat the feat in qualifying or one of the three races this weekend – around the high-speed, 2.35-mile Hampshire circuit, but with Phinsys by Argenti’s Matias Zagazeta and Fortec team-mate Joel Granfors snapping at his heels.

Double Knockhill race winner Zagazeta was just 0.077 seconds shy on his return to the circuit that yielded his maiden podium in the category back in May, with Granfors ensuring just 0.099s would blanket the three fastest runners.

Eduardo Coseteng (Argenti) posted the fourth-fastest time, with championship leader Matthew Rees (JHR) eventually fifth, having led earlier in the session before a red flag to retrieve Zak Taylor’s stranded Arden Motorsport machine out on circuit around half distance.

Rees’ JHR team-mate Abbi Pulling was sixth on this occasion, two tenths shy of the Welsh teenager’s time, with Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak close behind in the leading Carlin challenger.

The major story of the week was James Hedley’s switch to Carlin, with Rees’ chief title rival eighth in his first session for the Farnham-based squad. Hedley, five times a winner from his last six starts on ‘home soil’, will no doubt be ‘one to watch’ this weekend as it develops.

Two drivers posting impressive results of late completed the top ten, with Aiden Neate (Argenti) leading Kai Askey (Carlin), then follows McKenzy Cresswell (JHR) and Dougie Bolger (Carlin).

Taylor was 13th at the flag despite his dramas, with Joseph Loake in 14th also similarly struggling to complete more than a handful of laps. David Morales and Marcos Flack round out the field for Arden and Argenti respectively.

Session Result – Free Practice 1

Pos. Name Team Lap Time
1 Oliver GRAY Fortec Motorsport 1:13.042
2 Matias ZAGAZETA Phinsys by Argenti +0.077s
3 Joel GRANFORS Fortec Motorsport +0.099s
4 Eduardo COSETENG Phinsys by Argenti +0.137s
5 Matthew REES JHR Developments +0.357s
6 Abbi PULLING JHR Developments +0.558s
7 Tasanapol INTHRAPHUVASAK Carlin +0.583s
8 James HEDLEY Carlin +0.671s
9 Aiden NEATE Phinsys by Argenti +0.712s
10 Kai ASKEY Carlin +0.726s
11 McKenzy CRESSWELL JHR Developments +0.773s
12 Dougie BOLGER Carlin +0.840s
13 Zak TAYLOR Arden Motorsport +0.946s
14 Joseph LOAKE JHR Developments +1.144s
15 David MORALES Arden Motorsport +1.246s
16 Marcos FLACK Phinsys by Argenti +1.560s