Matthew Rees scored an emphatic victory in the ITV4-televised final F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost race of the weekend at Donington Park.
The result, secured by the JHR Developments racer over chief title rival Matias Zagazeta (Phinsys by Argenti) by 12.4 seconds, elevates Rees 12 points clear in the title race with three races remaining at Brands Hatch in a fortnight, and puts him in the frame to seal the Rookie Cup honours.
It would be fellow front-row starter and Rees’ team-mate McKenzy Cresswell who led during the opening exchanges, the latter making a move stick around the outside of Redgate on the opening tour to move ahead.
Rees held firm on the run down the Craner Curves and through the Old Hairpin to pull back alongside for the lead, with Zagazeta attempting to buy into the move on the inside of a three-wide battle heading down to McLeans.
Contact was inevitably made, the Peruvian skating wide across the gravel before re-joining further down the pack, and with second-placed Cresswell now nursing a damaged front wing, his chances at re-passing Rees were effectively over.
The Welsh teenager than set about making good his escape, and enjoyed an unchallenged run to the chequered flag. The battle for the runner-up spot, however, proved to be an absolute classic.
Initially, Cresswell found he had some breathing space as third-placed Aiden Neate (Argenti) fended off the recovering Zagazeta and Joel Granfors in the sole Fortec Motorsport challenger.
That soon evaporated after Zagazeta cleared Neate for the final spot on the podium, however, and the erstwhile points leader was able to make a similar move to that of Cresswell around the outside of Redgate with a few minutes left on the clock to assume second on the road.
Granfors soon followed Zagazeta past Cresswell, demoting the JHR racer to fourth in the final reckoning. A final lap collision at Redgate between Neate and Joseph Loake (JHR) left both in the gravel, with Carlin’s Dougie Bolger accepting the gift and moving up into fifth spot.
Zak Taylor charged up the order in the leading Arden Motorsport Red Arrow to take sixth, the Gloucestershire teen thrilling the ITV4 audience with a net gain of six positions across the 20-minute contest.
Marcos Flack (Argenti) rounded out a solid weekend in seventh, with James Hedley (Carlin) next; Eduardo Coseteng (Argenti) and Kai Askey (Carlin) complete the top ten runners on this occasion.
Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak finished just two tenths ahead of Cameron McLeod for 11th and 12th positions, Loake eventually recovering to finish 13th ahead of race two winner Georgi Dimitrov (Arden). David Morales was next, with Neate similarly making it back on circuit to finish, albeit an unlucky 16th.
Three races remain in the 2021 season, with Rees and Zagazeta now set for a Brands Hatch showdown in a fortnight (23-24 October).
More to follow…