R1: Zagazeta resists Rees pressure to strike first at Silverstone

Phinsys by Argenti’s Matias Zagazeta survived a first lap battle with team-mate Aiden Neate, then race-long pressure from chief title rival Matthew Rees (JHR) to win the opening F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost race at Silverstone.

Having scored an emphatic double pole position in qualifying earlier in the day, Zagazeta was bested – marginally – by a fast-starting Neate off the line, but held on bravely around the outside line at Copse and Becketts on the opening tour, handing the Peruvian the inside line down the Wellington Straight.

He duly annexed the race lead, before setting off up the road to build an early advantage as Neate defended from third-placed Rees. Two laps later and the Welsh teenager was released to pursue Zagazeta, closing to within striking range as the 20-minute contest approached half distance.

Although Rees had a couple of half-chances, a real opportunity to pass never presented itself as Zagazeta put in a solid defensive drive to weather the storm and seal a fourth victory of the campaign by 0.989 seconds.

In the process, he extends his championship lead over Rees to 11 points, who did at least take some consolation by snatching the bonus point for the Motul Fastest Lap away from Zagazeta.

Neate stabilised quickly after Rees’ move and did well to keep both Joel Granfors (Fortec) and McKenzy Cresswell (JHR) behind early on, but as they began to dispute fourth and fifth places respectively, the 15-year-old seized the chance to move clear.

Thereafter it was a comfortable run to the final spot on the rostrum for Neate, who makes it two consecutive podium finishes in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series.

Marcos Flack and Eduardo Coseteng completed a strong run for Argenti with sixth and seventh, the former surviving a brief skate through the gravel on the outside of Woodcote on the opening lap to pressurise Cresswell for the final top-five spot late on.

They crossed the line a mere 0.2s apart, with Cresswell able to hang onto the final Rookie Cup podium spot in the process behind Rees and Neate.

Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak emerged victorious from a thrilling battle in the midfield, the Thai racer banking another solid points finish ahead of David Morales, who put in another starring drive to rise from the back to ninth, his second consecutive points finish.

Kai Askey (Carlin) rounded out the points-paying positions in tenth, leading home Arden Motorsport duo Zak Taylor and Georgi Dimitrov. Croft race winner Dougie Bolger (Carlin) was next, the finishers completed by debutante Cameron McLeod (Arden) and Carlin’s James Hedley after a trip through the pit lane to fix a damage front wing for the BRDC Rising Star.

Oliver Gray (Fortec) and Joseph Loake (JHR) were the two retirees from the race, the former beached in the gravel at Luffield. The weekend continues with McLeod on pole position for the reverse grid race at 10:40 (BST) on Saturday.

Provisional Result – Round 22:

Pos. Name Team Time
1 Matias ZAGAZETA Phinsys by Argenti 21 laps
2 Matthew REES JHR Developments +0.989s
3 Aiden NEATE Phinsys by Argenti +2.340s
4 Joel GRANFORS Fortec Motorsport +6.156s
5 McKenzy CRESSWELL JHR Developments +9.107s
6 Marcos FLACK Phinsys by Argenti +9.292s
7 Eduardo COSETENG Phinsys by Argenti +12.496s
8 Tasanapol INTHRAPHUVASAK Carlin +14.598s
9 David MORALES Arden Motorsport +16.911s
10 Kai ASKEY Carlin +17.350s
11 Zak TAYLOR Arden Motorsport +20.057s
12 Georgi DIMITROV Arden Motorsport +24.565s
13 Dougie BOLGER Carlin +27.492s
14 Cameron McLEOD Arden Motorsport +28.512s
15 James HEDLEY Carlin +2 laps
DNF Oliver GRAY Fortec Motorsport +12 laps
DNF Joseph LOAKE JHR Developments +12 laps