F4 British Championship

Matthew Rees tops heavily disrupted opening practice session at Knockhill

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Rees will be looking for his sixth pole position this weekend. (Credit: Jakob Ebery Photography)

JHR Developments’ rookie and title contender Matthew Rees topped a very inconsistent first practice session at Knockhill, with two red flags disrupting the running. Abbi Pulling was just eight hundredths down in second place, with Fortec Motorsport’s Joel Granfors in third after topping the majority of the session early on.

In an opening session at Knockhill, where running is very important due to the undulating nature of the circuit to make the all setup changes for the weekend, we had an opening practice session that was chock full of incident, with rookies Oliver Gray and Marcos Flack falling foul to the demands of Scotland’s premier race venue.

Fortec’s Gray ran in fourth after causing an earlier red flag from an off track excursion, eventually forming a Noah’s ark formation up front between the battling teams of JHR and Fortec, in what is a pivotal race in the championship fight between the two squads. Rookie Dougie Bolger was straight on the pace once again, setting the fifth fastest time and solidly placing himself as the lead Carlin runner and thus continuing his form from Oulton Park.

Mckenzy Cresswell was in sixth place, just two thousandths back from Bolger, with Arden Motorsport’s highest placed driver Zak Taylor in seventh. Championship leader James Hedley was down in eighth place in what is an important weekend for the title race. Carlin’s Kai Askey and JHR’s Joseph Loake rounded out the top ten in what has been a very promising and productive start to the day for the Derbyshire based team.

Mathias Zagazeta wound up in eleventh place and initially running closer to the summit of the times, with the Peruvian finishing just ahead of Carlin’s Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak in twelfth. Rookie and relative season newcomer Aiden Neate was just seven hundredths behind his more experienced team mate Zagazeta in thirteenth spot.

David Morales appeared to show some more pace in fouteenth, finishing ahead of the Argenti duo of Eduardo Coseteng and Marcos Flack, with the latter having his own off track moment to bring out a second red flag on the tight and fast natured Knockhill circuit.

The second and final practice session of the day gets underway at 16:20 BST.

Free Practice 1 Classification (Top 10)

1Matthew Rees (R)JHR Developments49.334
2Abbi PullingJHR Developments+ 0.088
3Joel GranforsFortec Motorsport+ 0.123
4Oliver Gray (R)Fortec Motorsport+ 0.231
5Dougie Bolger (R)Carlin+ 0.260
6Mckenzy Cresswell (R)JHR Developments+ 0.262
7Zak TaylorArden Motorsport+ 0.287
8James Hedley Fortec Motorsport+ 0.293
9Kai Askey (R)Carlin+ 0.371
10Joseph LoakeJHR Developments+ 0.372
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British Formula 4 correspondent and occasional F1 reporter for The Checkered Flag.
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