Matthew Rees converted pole position into a maiden victory in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost by a comfortable 5.6-second margin in the opening contest at Snetterton.
The JHR Developments racer maintained his one-hundred percent record in qualifying on Saturday morning, and made the better start from the front row as second-placed Oliver Gray fell back behind Fortec team-mate James Hedley and McKenzy Cresswell (JHR) on the run down to Riches.
As the field behind started to scrap, Rees made good on his opportunity to break the tow to Hedley behind and started to stretch his legs out front, gradually extending the advantage until the chequered flag.
The battle for second promised much, but ultimately ended in a stalemate as Cresswell struggled to find a way past Hedley. The pair ran line-a-stern with Gray initially, but as the race wore on the latter was forced to defend from Marcos Flack (Phinsys by Argenti), dropping him back.
Flack’s attempts to wrestle fourth spot from Gray provided some entertaining moments on the final lap; the Aussie racer initially tried the outside line at both Riches and Agostini to no avail, but was able to get the inside line out of Nelson.
Gray, however, was able to sweep around the outside at the Bomb Hole as Flack defended from Abbi Pulling’s JHR challenger to preserve his fourth place, and they finished it that order.
Joseph Loake made it all four JHR cars in the points with seventh, falling behind Pulling on the final lap. The margin between them was two tenths at the line, with Joel Granfors (Fortec) eighth and losing crucial ground to Hedley in the standings, the gap stretching from 21 to 35 points.
Matias Zagazeta was ninth for Phinsys by Argenti, two tenths clear of Roman Bilinski in the leading Carlin challenger, the Polish racer recovering after a side-by-side moment with Flack left him using the grass on the inside of the main straight.
Zak Taylor was the leading Arden Motorsport car in 11th spot and successfully fended off a charging Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak (Carlin) behind. Eduardo Coseteng held firm despite a look to the outside of Riches by Kai Askey for 13th and 14th on the road.
Thomas Ikin and David Morales (both Arden) were 15th and 17th, split by the Richardson Racing machine of Georgi Dimitrov, with Carlin’s Dougie Bolger rounding out the 18 runners.
Rees’ triumph up front earnt him the bragging rights amongst the Rookie Cup runners, with Cresswell second in class ahead of Gray. Flack, meanwhile, walked away with the Motul Fastest Lap and the bonus point to match.
The weekend continues with Round 05 – the reverse grid race – at 17:20 BST this afternoon (12 June).
For full race results, click here.