F4 British Championship

James Hedley continues Thruxton hot streak with maiden Fortec win in mixed conditions

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Credit: Jakob Ebery Photography

James Hedley scored his first win for Fortec Motorsport, extending his run of victories at the super fast circuit to four and kicking off his 2021 campaign in earnest, leading a Fortec 1-2 ahead of new team mate and first season driver Joel Granfors with Matias Zagazeta in third.

As the lights went out it was Abbi Pulling that took the lead after passing team mate Matthew Rees, with Roman Bilinski making up a staggering seven places from eleventh place to challenge Joseph Loake for third place at the end of lap one.

Mckenzy Cresswell was was the big loser from the opening exchange, dropping from third to sixth. Meanwhile, Bilinski’s charge up the field continued after taking second place from Matthew Rees as he began his charge after lead Abbi Pulling, who was looking for her first win in the series.

Meanwhile further down the field James Hedley was making up seven places in one lap to fantastically take the lead away from Pulling, using the slipstream effect as well as gambling on tyre choice with the race starting on a damp circuit.

The positions were tumbling like a fruit machine, as the midfield drivers on the grid of Joel Granfors and Matias Zagazeta were making moves on their slick tyres, now running in second and third respectively as Hedley began to pull away up front.

The wet weather tyre shod cars were now running up to six seconds a lap slower than the slick runners as heavy rain clouds were looming large over Thruxton, with leader Hedley’s fastest lap of 1:18.056 considerably faster than the wet tyre runners doing 1:22’s.

After starting near the back of the pack, the highest running rookie Eduardo Coseteng was up to an impressive fifth place after making what appeared to be the correct tyre choice. A fantastic debut showing for the Filipino Argenti driver from Manila.

Meanwhile, pole sitter Matthew Rees was now running in a lowly fourteenth place after being swamped by the slick runners and not being able to keep apparent tyre temperature.

James Hedley’s lead was now up to almost ten seconds, as the new Fortec Motorsport driver was looking to continue his impressive Thruxton record after clean sweeping the weekend in 2020, as well as having the perfect start to this season in his new team.

Joel Granfors continued his battle with Zagazeta for second place, trying to make it a Fortec one-two and taking the fastest lap in the process, being on course for the first ever fastest lap point to be awarded in the British F4 Championship.

And with Hedley crossing the line with one second to spare, he would have to do one more lap as Granfors and Zagazeta would close the gap to the leader down to just two seconds. But as the chequered flag came out it was Hedley that took the win just ahead of team mate Joel Granfors and Argenti Motorsport’s Matias Zagazeta taking his maiden podium in his second campaign.

Rookie Eduardo Coseteng scored a fantastic fourth place ahead of Zak Taylor in fifth, with second highest rookie Oliver Gray finishing over a minute behind in sixth place and Roman Bilinski taking seventh place on his Carlin debut. Dougie Bolger finished in eighth, with Mckenzy Cresswell finishing the highest in the JHR Developments camp after struggling in today’s conditions in ninth. Kai Askey rounded out the points paying positions in tenth place.

1James HedleyFortec Motorsport16 Laps
2Joel GranforsFortec Motorsport+ 1.452
3Matias ZagazetaArgenti Motorsport+ 2.818
4Eduardo Coseteng (R)Argenti Motorsport+ 6.204
5Zak TaylorArden Motorsport+ 7.217
6Oliver Gray (R)Fortec Motorsport+ 1:11.216
7Roman Bilinski Carlin+ 1:17.163
8Dougie Bolger (R)Carlin+ 1:19.647
9Mckenzy Cresswell (R)JHR Developments+ 1 Lap
10Kai Askey (R)Carlin+ 1 Lap
11Thomas Ikin (R)Arden Motorsport+ 1 Lap
12Abbi PullingJHR Developments+ 1 Lap
13Matthew Rees (R)JHR Developments+ 1 Lap
14Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak Carlin+ 1 Lap
15Joseph LoakeJHR Developments+ 1 Lap
16Marcos Flack (R)Argenti MotorsportDNF
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British Formula 4 correspondent and occasional F1 reporter for The Checkered Flag.
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