R3: Loake keeps his cool to win dramatic Silverstone finale

JHR Developments’ Joseph Loake put in a controlled drive to win an eventful final F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost race of the weekend at Silverstone.

The 15-year-old made a level start from the fourth row and capitalised on a first-lap collision between championship leader Matias Zagazeta (Phinsys by Argenti) and his chief rivals Matthew Rees and McKenzy Cresswell (both JHR) at Becketts to move into the frame for a third victory of the campaign.

Having made the better start alongside Zagazeta on the front row, Rees had seized the inside line at Copse. The two ran side-by-side through the corner, allowing Cresswell to get a run on the inside approaching Becketts.

Under braking, the three made contact on the apex, with Aiden Neate (Argenti) also a casualty of the incident as Cresswell attempted to re-join, the contact between the pair taking out Neate’s rear wing.

Up front, Loake, now second behind Marcos Flack (Argenti), moved into the race lead with a move to the outside of Luffield to pass Flack before going on to build an initial 1-second buffer at the front, but that margin was soon wiped out by the action behind.

The safety car was called after a clash between Rees, now running fourth with front wing damage, and Joel Granfors in the leading Fortec Motorsport challenger. The Swede attempted to pass on the outside at Brooklands, but ended up across the kerb and the two made contact on the inside apex at Luffield, Granfors pitched into the air and onto the rear of Rees’ car.

The latter attempted to continue with Granfors beached in the gravel, but had to pit a few laps later to address the damage to both wings and retired from the race.

The race restarted with seven and a half minutes left on the clock, and Flack applied the pressure to Loake for the duration, but couldn’t force an error from the Macclesfield racer, who sparked jubilant scenes on the pit wall after taking the chequered flag 0.3 seconds clear.

The runner-up spot represents an equal career-best result for Flack, the Australian also victorious in the Rookie Cup stakes for the first time. Kai Askey rounded out the podium finishers, the Brit rising through the order in fine style, first to fifth and then up to third after Rees and Granfors’ tangle at Luffield.

It marks Askey’s second consecutive podium finish, and his strongest points haul in a single weekend to-date in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series.

Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak (Carlin) was fourth on the road behind his team-mate, but a 5-second time penalty for exceeding track limits meant the Thai driver dropped to sixth in the final reckoning behind Zak Taylor and Georgi Dimitrov (both Arden).

Inthraphuvasak was fortunate to emerge unscathed from a tangle at Brooklands that wiped out points leader Zagazeta; having passed the Peruvian for position on circuit, Zagazeta attempted to fight back, with Fortec’s Oliver Gray on the outside of a three-wide battle.

Arden’s David Morales attempted to capitalise on the inside line and made contact with Zagazeta, the #8 Argenti machine spinning round and out of the contest with front-left suspension damage. Gray also retired in the aftermath after being inadvertently tagged by Zagazeta’s car.

Morales would continue to take seventh spot ahead of team-mate Cameron McLeod, the rookie ending his debut weekend with another points-scoring finish. Cresswell returned to the fray after pitting for repairs and took ninth, as well as the Motul Fastest Lap and the bonus point to go with it.

Dougie Bolger survived a scare after tangling with Eduardo Coseteng (Argenti) whilst battling for position down the Wellington Straight, and the pair took the flag in 10th and 11th as the last of the finishers.

James Hedley (Carlin) was the other retiree, the BRDC Rising Star boxing with a problem on the opening tour of the 1.6-mile Northamptonshire circuit.

Zagazeta retains a 17-point lead over Rees as the series departs for Donington Park in a fortnight (9-10 October), with Cresswell still third, another 19 markers further back.

Provisional Result – Round 24:

Pos. Name Team Time
1 Joseph LOAKE JHR Developments 20 laps
2 Marcos FLACK Phinsys by Argenti +0.360s
3 Kai ASKEY Carlin +1.873s
4 Zak TAYLOR Arden Motorsport +4.245s
5 Georgi DIMITROV Arden Motorsport +6.179s
6 Tasanapol INTHRAPHUVASAK Carlin +7.318s
7 David MORALES Arden Motorsport +9.779s
8 Cameron McLEOD Arden Motorsport +11.334s
9 McKenzy CRESSWELL JHR Developments +1 lap
10 Dougie BOLGER Carlin +1 lap
11 Eduardo COSETENG Phinsys by Argenti +2 laps
DNF Oliver GRAY Fortec Motorsport +7 laps
DNF Matias ZAGAZETA Phinsys by Argenti +7 laps
DNF Matthew REES JHR Developments +10 laps
DNF Joel GRANFORS Fortec Motorsport +10 laps
DNF James HEDLEY Carlin +19 laps
DNF Aiden NEATE Phinsys by Argenti +19 laps