F4 British Championship

James Hedley breaks JHR qualifying stronghold with blistering lap to take Oulton Park pole

3 Mins read
Hedley will be looking to increase his 20 point lead at the top of the championship after taking pole position this morning. (Credit: Jakob Ebery Photography)

Fortec Motorsport championship leader James Hedley claimed his first pole position of 2021, and thus breaking the spell that JHR Developments had on pole positions so far this season, with a stunning lap in changeable conditions to further cement his position at the summit of the points table. His main championship challenger Matthew Rees lines up alongside him however, the the JHR rookie setting a second fastest time at the death to keep Hedley within his sights. Thruxton race three winner and JHR team mate Joseph Loake claimed an impressive third place after leading some of the session in the remaining five minutes.

As the cars went out for the beginning of the 20 minute session, it was a mad dash for the best track conditions as the rain began to fall. All drivers were on slick tyres but the teams were at the ready in pit lane with wet tyres as the drizzle intensified.

The first timed laps were coming in with 15 minutes of the session remaining, with yesterday’s pace setter Matias Zagazeta coming to early grips with the ever changing conditions to set a 1:42.476 as the times began to tumble rapidly on the the greasy surface.

Abbi Pulling took her turn to shoot up the order, with a 1:41.641 vaulting the JHR Developments driver up to the top of the timesheet. More and more drivers were beginning to change tyres as the conditions began to deteriorate, as the wet tyres were becoming the favoured choice.

At the halfway mark, it was Aiden Neate that dropped down into the 1:40s to top the times for the Phinsys by Argenti squad. James Hedley was within two tenths of the leader in second place after spending a little more time in the garage at the beginning of the session.

Hedley would then take find a large chunk of pace, bringing the fastest time all the way down to a 1:36.904, even though it’s still well over 10 seconds slower than yesterday’s drier running. It appears that the Fortec Motorsport tactic of running solely on the wets instead of running around on the dry tyres prior was a beginning to pay off.

With just five minutes remaining, more and more drivers were pitting for a change of tyres. The tyre warmup phase becoming absolutely pivotal in the ever changing conditions in such a short space of time. A high pressure situation.

Eduardo Coseteng was the best performing rookie in the session so far, with the impressive Filipino up in second place and just a mere three hundredths behind Hedley as the times began to tumble like a fruit machine.

JHR Developments Joseph Loake rocketed to the top of the sheets as the drivers started their final laps at the end of the session, but Hedley quickly usurped Loake to take his place as fastest man once again.

But as it all came to a close, it was James Hedley that broke the JHR deadlock in qualifying sessions in 2021 to take a stunning pole position ahead of his chief title rival Matthew Rees and his JHR team mate Joseph Loake. Eduardo Coseteng was in fourth, with the Friday pacesetter Zagazeta in fifth and recent British F3 winner in sixth place.

Carlin team mate Dougie Bolger will line up in seventh place, Oliver Gray in eighth, Aiden Neate in ninth and fellow Carlin rookie Kai Askey showing some stronger pace in tenth place.

Race one of the weekend will commence later this afternoon at 2:10pm.

Qualifying Classification (Race 1 Starting Lineup)

Pos.DriverTeamTime
1James HedleyFortec Motorsport1:33.678
2Matthew Rees (R)JHR Developments+ 0.564
3Joseph LoakeJHR Developments+ 0.616
4Eduardo Coseteng (R)Phinsys by Argenti+ 0.766
5Matias ZagazetaPhinsys by Argenti+ 0.793
6Roman BilinskiCarlin+ 0.988
7Dougie Bolger (R)Carlin+ 1.163
8Oliver Gray (R)Fortec Motorsport+ 1.340
9Aiden Neate (R)Phinsys by Argenti+ 1.355
10Kai Askey (R)Carlin+ 1.923
11Marcos Flack (R)Phinsys by Argenti+ 2.045
12Joel GranforsFortec Motorsport+ 2.684
13Georgi DimitrovRichardson Racing+ 2.942
14Abbi PullingJHR Developments+ 3.460
15Mckenzy Cresswell (R)JHR Developments+ 4.041
16Zak TaylorArden Motorsport+ 4.120
17Tasanapol InthraphuvasakCarlin+ 4.203
18David MoralesArden Motorsport+ 4.238
19Thomas Ikin (R)Arden Motorsport+ 5.945

Race 2 grid is a complete reverse of qualifying. Thomas Ikin (R) will start on pole position.

Race 3 grid is set by second fastest times in qualifying. James Hedley will start on pole position.

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British Formula 4 correspondent and occasional F1 reporter for The Checkered Flag.
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