Home Formula FordFFord Festival Parks and McCullough on pole for FFord Festival heats three and four

Parks and McCullough on pole for FFord Festival heats three and four

by Steve Whitfield

Photo: Ida Wood

Robbie Parks snatched a surprise pole for heat three, while David McCullough was quickest in qualifying for heat four at the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch.

Heat three qualifying produced a slightly unexpected order, as laptimes improved dramatically from the earlier two sessions on a rapidly drying track.

Michael Eastwell set an early benchmark of 57.116 seconds in his Kevin Mills Racing-run Spectrum, and soon found a further 1.8s gain.

GB4 race-winner Megan Gilkes then moved ahead with a 54.924s in B-M Racing’s 2022-spec Medina, before Tom McArthur lapped 0.6s faster in a Van Diemen RF86.

Ammonite Motorsport’s Shawn Rashid then went quicker still, with Eastwell reclaiming top spot with a 54.174s.

The chequered flag was waved with over two minutes still left on the clock after Matt Rivett’s car stopped at Paddock Hill Bend with what appeared to be a fiery rear end.

Team Canada scholar Jake Cowden posted a 53.898s on his final lap, but he was denied pole seconds later by Vertical Racing’s Robbie Parks, who set a 53.877s despite missing most of the week’s testing. Jordan Kelly was another late improver into third, only 0.023s off Parks’ pace.

James Penrose was fourth for Border Reivers, narrowly ahead of Rashid and McArthur, while Eastwell and Gilkes slipped back to seventh and eighth.

Times tumbled further in heat four with Jeremy Fairbairn posting an early benchmark of 51.608s. Northern Irish FF1600 champion David McCulllough then beat his time by 0.2s

2021 National FF1600 champion Chris Middlehurst then set a 51.212s to go quickest on his first FF1600 appearance of the year for Team Dolan before he was edged by Ammonite’s Team USA scholar William Ferguson.

Privateer Alan Davidson, who had been sitting in fourth, spun off backwards at Paddock Hill Bend, bringing out the red flags with four minutes remaining.

McCullough set a 51.121s once the session resumed to move ahead of Ferguson by 0.003s. He then improved to a 50.910s before spinning off at Paddock Hill as the chequered flag was waved, but his time was not beaten.

Middlehurst was a late improver into second place, 0.192s off McCullough. Ferguson did not improve after the red flag stoppage and ended up third, with Tom Nippers and Oldfield Motorsport’s Brandon McCaughan both within 0.031s of him.

Davidson held on to sixth ahead of Fairbairn and Souley Motorsport’s Ben Cox.

Qualifying round-up
Heat 3 grid
1 Robbie Parks Vertical Racing 53.877s
2 Jake Cowden Graham Brunton Racing +0.021s
3 Jordan Kelly Team Dolan +0.023s
4 James Penrose Border Reivers +0.157s
5 Shawn Rashid Ammonite Motorsport +0.184s
6 Tom McArthur +0.222s
7 Michael Eastwell Kevin Mills Racing +0.297s
8 Megan Gilkes B-M Racing +0.722s
9 Abdul Ahmed Don Hardman Racing +0.858s
10 Gabe Tesch Team Dolan +0.900s

Heat 4 grid
1 David McCullough Team DDR 50.910s
2 Chris Middlehurst Team Dolan +0.192s
3 William Ferguson Ammonite Motorsport +0.214s
4 Tom Nippers privateer +0.243s
5 Brandon McCaughan Oldfield Motorsport +0.245s
6 Alan Davidson privateer +0.577s
7 Jeremy Fairbairn Kevin Mills Racing +0.651s
8 Ben Cox Souley Motorsport +0.671s
9 Wallace Martins Swift Cooper +0.874s
10 Brindley Kinch privateer +0.994s