Surrey racer McKenzy Cresswell enjoyed a dream debut in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA - powered by Ford EcoBoost at Thruxton this past weekend (May 8/9) as he scored an impressive overall podium and Rookie Cup win.
Graduating into single seaters with leading team JHR Developments for 2021, the 15-year-old produced a superlative display in both wet and dry conditions across all three races around the high-speed Hampshire venue.
Showing top three pace on the 2.36 mile circuit during the official pre-event test last month, the Weybridge based rising star was greeted with persistent rain and high winds as he embarked on a maiden qualifying session on Saturday.
Getting a handle on the challenging conditions early on, Cresswell remained a constant threat towards the top of the times. His best lap ultimately secured him third on the grid for the opening race of the season, as part of a remarkable top four lockout for the JHR Developments team.
With weather conditions beginning to transition from wet to dry as the afternoon wore on, tyre choice became the major talking point ahead of race one. Along with a majority of the field, the Quenched Drinks-backed racer elected to run the wet compound, however it soon became apparent that slicks would be the way to go.
Dropping down the order as the slick-shod cars came to the fore during the opening laps, Creswell dug deep and soon began to fight his way back up the order, completing a number of bold overtakes along the way. Having been as far down as 16th at one stage, the teenager, who is also supported by Salt Recruitment, crossed the line to finish ninth and net a handful of points.
Lining up 14th by virtue of the reverse grid for race two - broadcast live on ITV4 - Cresswell again showcased his overtaking skills. Despite having an early moment on the grass exiting ‘Church’, the fastest corner in the country, the former Rotax kart racer carved his way up the order to finish seventh overall and runner-up in the Rookie Cup, claiming his first piece of silverware of the year
The third and final race of the weekend took two attempts at running due to a multi-car accident on the first tour causing a red flag. At the second time of asking, Cresswell jumped into second place through the Complex, he then held station for the remainder of the race, applying constant pressure to the leader.
Crossing the line in second place, to net his maiden overall podium, Cresswell also bagged his first Rookie Cup victory to ensure he leaves Thruxton atop the Rookie class points standings. He is also lying fourth in the overall drivers’ championship heading into the next rounds at Snetterton on 12/13 June.
McKenzy Cresswell:“It has been a really good weekend and one that we’ve made the most of. Coming into the event I didn’t expect that I’d be coming away with a second-place finish and some Rookie Cup silverware; I’m really pleased with how it’s gone. JHR gave me a fantastic car this weekend and the support from Alice Powell my coach has been awesome.
“Qualifying third was a great start to the weekend, especially given the conditions, but tyre choice for race one meant we were up against it as the track was drying faster than the front of the grid expected. I managed to fight back to seventh and bag some points.
“Race two was really enjoyable, I had an early moment at Church but once I recovered, I was able to starting making my way forward.
“Conditions for race three were tough but we had good pace and I felt confident. I managed to get into second early on and, although I kept the pressure on my team mate Joseph Loake for most of the race, the conditions ultimately worked against a safe overtake."
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.