James Hedley was looking for a historic third race win in a row this weekend at Thruxton to firmly put his name back in the championship conversation in the 2020 British F4 Championship. And with his team mate Abbi Pulling alongside, as well as championship contenders Luke Browning and Zak O’Sullivan not firing on all cylinders this weekend, it was the perfect opportunity for the 17-year old to capitalise on.
Hedley and Pulling occupied the front row, but it was Hedley that left away in the lead as Pulling fell into second through the first complex. Casper Stevenson and Alex Connor were battling for third behind, as the pair of them began to push on in pursuit of Pulling in second.
Going into the second lap, Luke Browning was coming through the field as he made contact with Christian Mansell who then went into Alex Connor, spinning the Arden Motorsport around after more drama with the championship leader, the pair seemingly magnetised together this season. Browning had now passed Bilinski for fourth and had made six places in the opening three laps, but the Fortec Motorsport driver would surely be under investigation from the stewards.
The top three of Hedley, Pulling and Stevenson were breaking away out front after the frantic midfield battle, with equidistant gaps of a second and a half between the three of them. Reema Juffali was having a much stronger race and was mixing it with rookies Lubin and Mansell as well as Roman Bilinski within the top eight.
Meanwhile up front, Hedley was gapping team mate Abbi Pulling by a couple of tenths a lap as the gap was now at two seconds with 12 minutes remaining. Zak O’Sullivan was a lap down and having a torrid weekend for Carlin, and also under threat of losing his second place in the championship to Casper Stevenson who himself is having an impressive purple patch with immense consistency for Argenti Motorsport.
Stevenson was now attacking Pulling for second place as Hedley was escaping out front, locking up into the final chicane in a desperate attempt to get past the JHR Developments racer.
Alex Connor was having a fantastic recovery after being spun on lap two, coming back into the top six passed his team mates of Lubin and Bilinski as well as Carlin’s Christian Mansell. The young brit was setting fastest lap after fastest lap, showing the pace of the Arden driver and ultimate frustration in what could have been in today’s race.
Battle Royale had commenced in the rookie cup with just seven minutes to go, with Mansell, Lubin and Villagomez fighting hard for seventh place, tied together on a piece of string in each other’s slipstream, with Juffali and Zagazeta in close company.
The battle for second place was hotting up once again, with Stevenson putting more pressure in Pulling. Meanwhile up front, Hedley was over seven seconds ahead now and looking to bring the car home for a historic third win in a row, a clean sweep this weekend at Thruxton. And sure enough, it was Hedley that took his hat trick victory as Abbi Pulling held off a charging Casper Stevenson to maintain second.
Championship leader Luke Browning came home in fourth ahead of Alex Connor after a fantastic drive through the field. Roman Bilinski finished in fifth after a hard fought defence from rookies Christian Mansell and Frederick Lubin in seventh and eighth respectively. Rafael Villagomez managed to hold off Reema Juffali for ninth, with Mathias Zagazeta coming home in eleventh ahead of Zak O’Sullivan, who had a weekend to forget for the Carlin championship hopeful.
Race 3 Classification:
|1||James Hedley||JHR Developments||17 Laps|
|2||Abbi Pulling||JHR Developments||+ 7.880|
|3||Casper Stevenson||Argenti Motorsport||+ 8.009|
|4||Luke Browning||Fortec Motorsport||+ 9.929|
|5||Alex Connor||Arden Motorsport||+ 10.163|
|6||Roman Bilinski||Arden Motorsport||+ 17.360|
|7||Christian Mansell||Carlin||+ 18.820|
|8||Frederick Lubin||Arden Motorsport||+ 19.080|
|9||Rafael Villagomez||Fortec Motorsport||+ 22.765|
|10||Reema Juffali||Argenti Motorsport||+ 22.892|
|11||Mathias Zagazeta||Carlin||+ 25.304|
|12||Zak O’Sullivan||Carlin||+ 1:17.090|