FORD’S RISING STARS MARK NEXT CHAPTER IN 2021 TITLE FIGHT AT SNETTERTON
After an action-packed start to the 2021 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost season at Thruxton last month, Ford’s rising stars head to Snetterton, Norfolk this weekend (12-13 June) to mark the next chapter in the title fight.
Fortec Motorsport kicked off their title defence in strong fashion at the high-speed Hampshire circuit, opening the new campaign with a brace of 1-2 finishes for early points leader James Hedley and Swedish rising star Joel Granfors.
Whilst the first came about after an inspired call to bolt on slicks on a wet-but-drying circuit, the second was down to both drivers making steady progress through the order in the reverse grid contest.
Although a four-car incident at the Club chicane looked to have ended Hedley’s weekend early in Sunday’s ITV4-televised finale, a swift repair job during the resulting red flag enabled him to take the restart, and he duly rose to finish third and open up a 21-point lead back to Granfors in the standings.
JHR Developments’ Joseph Loake – the winner of that final race on his graduation from tin-tops to single seaters – sits third overall, three points clear of team-mate McKenzy Cresswell, who also holds the upper hand in the Rookie Cup stakes over Oliver Gray by the same margin.
Thruxton proved to be something of a rollercoaster ride for the Derbyshire team. Arriving with a perfect record in recent times – six from the last six in Hampshire – JHR duly continued their strong form by locking out the front two rows in qualifying.
For Matthew Rees – a polesitter on his Formula 4 debut from karting – and Abbi Pulling, the weekend only yielded a fifth-place finish apiece, but both have signalled their championship aspirations and will be looking to bounce back this time out.
Fortec head to Snetterton with twice the points of second-placed Arden Motorsport in the Teams Cup, but the Red Arrows arrive bolstered by the addition of US racer David Morales to their line-up.
Both Zak Taylor and Thomas Ikin enjoyed a solid start to the season, the former claiming a debut podium in race two after a superb defensive drive, whilst Ikin also graced the top step of the Rookie rostrum in the same contest.
The other Rookie winner at Thruxton was Phinsys by Argenti’s Eduardo Coseteng, the driver from the Philippines also claiming two bonus points for the Motul Fastest Lap.
Team-mate Matias Zagazeta took the other, the Peruvian also celebrating a first overall podium finish in the series in the season opener. Marcos Flack had a debut point in race three to show for a character-building start to the campaign, but the Aussie racer will no doubt be out with a point to prove this weekend.
Very seldom do Carlin leave a race meeting without adding to their impressive record of podium finishes, but Thruxton proved to be an exception to the rule. Regardless, their quartet – Roman Bilinski, Dougie Bolger, Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak and Kai Askey – all scored their first points of the season to provide a platform to build on at Snetterton.
Richardson Racing will make their long-awaited return to the series after Georgi Dimitrov was advised not to race last time out, the British-Bulgarian racer now set to make his debut at Snetterton.
Following a brace of practice sessions on Friday, the competitive actions begins on Saturday (12 June) with qualifying at 09:05, before a pair of races at 13:25 and 17:20 respectively. On Sunday, the ITV4-televised race at 12:15 will close out the weekend.
Spectators will also make a welcome return this weekend at Snetterton, with up to 4,000 fans set to be admitted per day in line with the latest government guidance.