James Hedley kicked off his championship challenge with pole position for the opening British Formula 4 race of the season at Donington Park.
The JHR Developments driver – making his single-seater debut after winning last year’s Ginetta Junior title – set a 1m08.184s to go fastest in the closing stages of the race, beating Fortec Motorsport’s second-year drivers Roberto Faria and Luke Browning.
The top three drivers were all separated by less than a tenth of a second, with the gap between Hedley and Faria just 0.085 seconds.
Faria claimed pole for race three based on second-fastest times, edging Hedley by 0.012s and Browning by 0.042s.
Zak O’Sullivan was the best-placed Carlin driver. Despite setting the pace early in the session he dropped back to fourth by the chequered flag finishing just ahead of Arden’s Alex Connor, who was also briefly in provisional pole position before being shuffled down the order.
Abbi Pulling took sixth ahead of scholarship winner Casper Stevenson and Roman Bilinski.
Bilinski was one of a number of drivers who had lap times disallowed for exceeding track limits, but was able to improve again to put himself inside the top 10.
Christian Mansell was the best placed rookie in the field, qualifying ninth ahead of team-mate Matias Zagazeta.
Stevenson lines up sixth for race three in front of Pulling, Zagazeta, Mansell and Bilinski.
Race 1 grid
1 James Hedley JHR 1m08.184s
2 Roberto Faria Fortec +0.085s
3 Luke Browning Fortec +0.098s
4 Zak O’Sullivan Carlin +0.152s
5 Alex Connor Arden +0.210s
6 Abbi Pulling JHR +0.370s
7 Casper Stevenson Argenti +0.471s
8 Roman Bilinski Arden +0.592s
9 Christian Mansell Carlin +0.690s
10 Mathias Zagazeta Carlin +0.693s
Race 3 grid
1 Faria 1m08.276s
2 Hedley +0.012s
3 Browning +0.042s
4 Connor +0.125s
5 O’Sullivan +0.136s
6 Stevenson +0.484s
7 Pulling +0.508s
8 Zagazeta +0.621s
9 Mansell +0.672s
10 Bilinski +0.699s