F4 British Championship

Hedley takes second win of the season after controlled but close finish ahead of Argenti’s Casper Stevenson

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Credit: Jakob Ebery Photography

As we headed into round 13 of the 2020 British F4 Championship, runaway championship leader Luke Browning was starting down in sixth place after a low-key qualifying session earlier this morning, with closest rival Zak O’Sullivan starting alongside in fifth place. Last year’s Ginetta Junior champion James Hedley was the class of the weekend so far with a storming pole position that broke Thruxton’s track record for the championship.

When the lights went out, Hedley got away well with Casper Stevenson slotting in behind in second with Abbi Pulling maintaining her impressive third place start as we headed through the opening sweeping corners and club chicane. Hedley quickly pulled out a seven car length lead over Argenti Motorsport’s Casper Stevenson, showing the early pace from the JHR Developments driver.

Luke Browning made a great start and was challenging Alex Connor for fourth place early on as the safety car was brought out as Carlin’s Mathias Zagazeta didn’t make to back around at the end of lap one.

And with 17 minutes remaining it was Hedley leading, closely followed by Stevenson, Pulling, Browning and Alex Connor in fifth place. In the rookie cup, Arden Motorsport’s Frederick Lubin managed to get past Christian Mansell into eighth place to lead that particular battle in a closely fought season so far.

As the lights went out on the safety car, the race was resumed with 11 minutes remaining with Hedley making a break for it out front and the rest of the field staying in order, until Luke Browning passed Abbi Pulling into third and into the podium places as Zak O’Sullivan made an error at the final chicane ran across the kerbs, going airborne and lost places to the Arden pair of Alex Connor and Frederick Lubin, relegating him down to seventh.

Abbi Pulling was tracking Luke Browning in the slipstream to try and regain the podium place she fought so valiantly for in the early stages of the race until the safety car period.

The top two of James Hedley and Casper Stevenson had made a break out front, stopping any danger of championship leader catching a slipstream down in third place. Behind the top two positions however, the gaps were fairly equidistant, with the cars being gapped by about half a second as Pulling began to attack Browning again with five minutes remaining.

However, Alex Connor soon relegated Abbi Pulling down to fifth, and the Arden man began to give chase to his rival Luke Browning with the memories of their Oulton Park clash still very fresh. Connor would later pull up to Browning and started to attack the championship leader for the final podium place as Stevenson began to chip away at Hedley’s lead as we approached the final two minutes.

As the time ran out and the chequered flag flew, it was James Hedley that took his second win of the season after Casper Stevenson piled on the pressure late on but couldn’t quite force the mistake from the JHR driver, ultimately coming home in second. Luke Browning managed to hold on to third after serious pressure from Alex Connor who finished fourth. Zak O’Sullivan managed to recover to fifth and Abbi Pulling finished in sixth after a strong drive, even with the loss of places from her third starting spot.

The Arden pair of Frederick Lubin and Roman Bilinski came home in seventh and eighth respectively, followed by Reema Juffali in ninth, Christian Mansell in tenth and Rafael Villagomez rounding out the finishers in eleventh place.

Race 1 Classification:

1James HedleyJHR Developments14 Laps
2Casper StevensonArgenti Motorsport+ 0.193
3Luke BrowningFortec Motorsport+ 5.850
4Alex Connor Arden Motorsport+ 5.980
5Zak O’SullivanCarlin+ 6.385
6Abbi PullingJHR Developments + 7.391
7Frederick LubinArden Motorsport+ 7.665
8Roman BilinskiArden Motorsport+ 7.995
9Reema JuffaliArgenti Motorsport+ 8.659
10Christian MansellCarlin+ 8.821
11Rafael VillagomezFortec Motorsport+ 16.030
12Mathias ZagazetaCarlinDNF
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