For round three of the 2020 British F4 Championship, it was Roberto Faria and James Hedley taking the front row, and Alex Connor taking a penalty after his collision with Faria in race two to demote him to ninth place on the gird for this afternoon’s race. Championship leader and race two winner Zak O’Sullivan lined up in fourth place.
But when the lights went out, it was James Hedley that took an early lead into Redgate corner as Faria lost further places to Luke Browning and O’Sullivan. Further back there was calamity at the final chicane on the first lap involving Abbi Pulling and Frederick Lubin, sadly leaving Pulling in the outside gravel trap and out of the race after a promising result in race two earlier today.
The safety car was brought out once again today, and the running order was Hedley in the lead closely followed by Browning, O’Sullivan and Faria. One of the key players in race two, Casper Stevenson was running in fifth and rookie Mathias Zagazeta in sixth.
As the safety car came back in, Hedley bolted and got away, with Browning and O’Sullivan battling hard behind and Rafael Villagomez climbing up to fourth place, having a fantastic debut weekend in British F4. Another rookie, Carlin’s Mathias Zagazeta was having his strongest run of the season so far in sixth place and hounding Faria and Villagomez ahead.
Meanwhile up front, JHR Developments’ James Hedley had stretched out a one and a half second lead over Luke Browning with just over seven minutes to go – the race seemingly under control. Christian Mansell made a fantastic pass up the inside of Rafael Villagomez for seventh place at Redgate corner as the Mexican began to slide down the order after a promising start.
Coming into the final few minutes, Luke Browning was setting fastest laps and got the lead down to a second over Hedley, rapidly closing as the battle for the final podium place was heating up between O’Sullivan and Fortec’s Roberto Faria, with Zagazeta keeping watching brief close behind.
As the clock ticked down, Nathanael Hodgkiss had an incident at the final chicane and speared into the tyre barrier on the second apex after clipping the tyres at the first apex when defending from Arden’s Frederick Lubin. Not the first weekend Hodgkiss was looking for after being placed into the JHR Developments fold very late on after Mikkel Grundtvig couldn’t make the season.
But at the chequered flag it was 2019 Ginetta Junior champion James Hedley that took a resounding victory ahead of Luke Browning and Zak O’Sullivan managed to hold on to the final podium place in third.
“How you bounce back is the most important thing after a tough weekend, so I’m really happy with this result today. Tyre management is the main change after moving over from Ginetta, so there’s a lot to learn.” said Hedley.
Luke Browning was thankful for his two second places and some good championship points, even though he didn’t get the win and an unlucky race in race two.
“We had a good race one. Race two was tough, losing the points and we managed to bring it back in race three. I definitely could’ve caught James but fair play to him, he managed the tyres well and he deserved it.” explained Browning.
Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan took a lot of heart from a very consistent opening weekend in his first single seater season.
“Overall it’s been a great weekend, a fantastic start to the season. It’s going to be really close all year between so many people, so let’s see what to brings. The team are doing a great job, and we just have to be in the right place at the right time and the back-to-back races should help with the flow of the season.” said O’Sullivan.