F4 British Championship

Hedley retains championship lead as Taylor and Zagazeta take maiden wins at wild Brands Hatch weekend

4 Mins read
Credit: Jakob Ebery Photography

James Hedley scored his third victory of the season to maintain his lead in the 2021 British F4 Championship standings on a weekend that also saw maiden wins for Arden Motorsport’s Zak Taylor and Phinsys by Argenti’s Matias Zagazeta at Brands Hatch.

As the series arrived at the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit for the third race weekend of 2021, it was the Fortec Motorsport racer that had a 25-point advantage over the early season rookie qualifying master Matthew Rees.

And with the opening race of the weekend being designated as the reverse grid race specifically for this meeting, it was Arden Motorsport new boy David Morales that led away from pole position and held a strong lead before coming under pressure later on from team mate rookie Thomas Ikin, with the rookie cup contender passing exquisitely around the outside of the sweeping and rollercoaster-like Paddock Hill bend.

Eventual race one winner Zak Taylor would join in on the battle between Arden team mates and get past Ikin and Morales at Druids as they battled for the lead, and built up an advantage that would not be toppled, even with a safety car intervention that Taylor dealt with masterfully to take his maiden British F4 victory.

Ikin took a second podium in as many race meetings as well as a third rookie victory, JHR Developments’ Abbi Pulling took a well deserved podium finish after making a last ditch pass on Carlin’s Dougie Bolger on the exit of Clearways in what would be a photo finish across the line.

Credit: Jakob Ebery Photography

On Sunday morning the drivers were greeting with wet/dry conditions to tackle for round eight, and ultimately it was championship leader James Hedley that charged from fifth on the grid to further extend his title advantage, winning in great fashion.

Staying on slicks appeared to be just the ticket for JHR drivers Rees, Cresswell, Pulling and Loake, as well as Carlin’s Roman Bilinski and Georgi Dimitrov. But a sharp shower just six minutes from the chequered flag allowed Hedley to fight though to the lead after passing Zagazeta earlier on at Clearways.

Standout rookie Matthew Rees and Abbi Pulling were able to hold on to the remaining podium places in second and third respectively, as Bilinski managed his season’s best finish in fifth place ahead of another rookie promise Mckenzy Cresswell in sixth.

For the final race of the weekend, it was Matias Zagazeta that made it six different winners in the first nine races for the ITV3 televised race in front of an exuberant Brands Hatch crowd.

From the front row it was Zagazeta that made a better start ahead of Mckenzy Cresswell, sweeping around the outside of Paddock Hill bend and thus began building a healthy advantage of just over two seconds which the Peruvian didn’t relinquish, cruising to the chequered flag unchallenged for what was one of the most impressive victories in the series so far in 2021.

Cresswell was able to hold off Carlin’s Kai Askey who in turned scored his first podium of the season in what had been a very impressive upturn of results for the rookie who has shown glimpses of brilliance already this year. Cresswell was able to remain in the lead of the rookie cup, holding just a three point advantage over JHR Developments team mate Matthew Rees.

Credit: Jakob Ebery Photography

But in the overall championship fight, it was Rees that crucially finished fourth ahead of James Hedley to reduce the gap to the Fortec racer to 20 points as we go into a month long break before returning to Oulton Park at the end of July.

Further down the field over the weekend there were plenty of drivers having career and season defining races, including British F4 debutant Aiden Neate for Phynsis by Argenti, who scored two impressive top ten finishes including a storming sixth in race one on Saturday.

Japanese rookie Dougie Bolger was unlucky to miss out on a first podium in race one after a last lap battle with Abbi Pulling, but the Carlin rookie is showing further improvements as we slowly approach the halfway mark in the season.

Early title contender Joel Granfors scored a triplet of points finishes for the Fortec team to keep his name in the championship hat, whereas Thruxton race three winner Joseph Loake scored a seventh place in race three as well as a brace of race fastest laps to further improve his points tally.

Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak and Eduardo Coseteng both scored a tenth place finish each over the weekend, but to was Marcos Flack, Georgi Dimitrov and David Morales that left Brands Hatch wanting more with all three leaving Kent pointless.

The 2021 British F4 Championship resumes at Oulton Park on 31 July – 01 August.

Race One Classification (Top 10)

Pos.DriverTeamDifference
1Zak TaylorArden Motorsport23 Laps
2Thomas Ikin (R)Arden Motorsport+ 1.287s
3Abbi PullingJHR Developments+ 1.994s
4Dougie Bolger (R)Carlin+ 2.220s
5Oliver Gray (R)Fortec Motorsport+ 2.293s
6Aiden Neate (R)Phinsys by Argenti+ 3.117s
7Roman BilinskiCarlin+ 3.483s
8Joel GranforsFortec Motorsport+ 3.804s
9Matthew Rees (R)JHR Developments+ 3.999s
10Mckenzy Cresswell (R)JHR Developments+ 4.183s

Race Two Classification (Top 10)

Pos.DriverTeamDifference
1James HedleyFortec Motorsport23 Laps
2Matthew Rees (R)JHR Developments+ 6.140s
3Abbi PullingJHR Developments+ 7.360s
4Matias ZagazetaPhinsys by Argenti+ 8.113s
5Roman BilinskiCarlin+ 13.749s
6Mckenzy Cresswell (R)JHR Developments+ 15.137s
7Kai Askey (R)Carlin+ 15.326s
8Joel GranforsFortec Motorsport+ 25.229s
9Oliver Gray (R)Fortec Motorsport+ 25.560s
10Tasanapol InthraphuvasakCarlin+ 33.202s

Race Three Classification (Top 10)

Pos.DriverTeamDifference
1Matias ZagazetaPhinsys by Argenti25 Laps
2Mckenzy Cresswell (R)JHR Developments+ 2.244s
3Kai Askey (R)Carlin+ 4.921s
4Matthew Rees (R)JHR Developments+ 5.973s
5James HedleyFortec Motorsport+ 6.117s
6Joel GranforsFortec Motorsport+ 6.392s
7Joseph LoakeJHR Developments+ 6.892s
8Abbi PullingJHR Developments+ 7.071s
9Aiden Neate (R)JHR Developments+ 8.935s
10Eduardo Coseteng (R)Phinsys by Argenti+ 11.210s

Championship Standings (Top 10)

Pos.DriverTeam Points
1James HedleyFortec Motorsport120
2Matthew Rees (R)JHR Developments100
3Mckenzy Cresswell (R)JHR Developments88
4Matias ZagazetaPhinsys by Argenti68
5Joel GranforsFortec Motorsport61
6Abbi PullingJHR Developments58
7Zak TaylorArden Motorsport53
8Oliver Gray (R)Fortec Motorsport47
9Joseph LoakeJHR Developments42
10Kai Askey (R)Carlin35
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British Formula 4 correspondent and occasional F1 reporter for The Checkered Flag.
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