Arden Motorsport made it a silverware-laden start to the 2021 British Formula 4 season after taking a first outright podium finish and Rookie Cup victory at Thruxton last weekend (8-9 May).
With pre-event testing held a month prior, the Banbury team travelled south to the high-speed, 2.3-mile Hampshire circuit with a new-look line-up of Zak Taylor and Thomas Ikin keen to hit the ground running from the get-go.
Wet-weather conditions hampered the Red Arrows' progress, but an inspired late call for slick tyres paid dividends for Taylor in the opening race, the Gloucestershire teen rising through from the penultimate row of the grid to fifth in his first single seater race.
Ikin, who elected to stay on wet-compound tyres, was equally as impressive, besting several of the championship’s experienced names and moving through to 11th.
The 18-year-old from Wirral was equally as impressive from pole position on Sunday morning, retaining the lead through the opening laps as Taylor cut through from fourth to second.
Though both would lose ground before the chequered flag, Taylor’s defensive driving earnt him a maiden podium finish in third, and sixth for Ikin was enough to give him a maiden Rookie Cup victory in a highly competitive field.
Chaos at the start of the finale meant damage for Taylor, who was inadvertently tagged as a four-car incident played out up ahead at the Club chicane.
A red flag gave the team time to work on the car, but rain fell during the delay and both did well to bring the cars home in the tricky conditions to close out a rollercoaster of a weekend.
Taylor’s efforts mean he leaves the season opener in the top five overall, with Ikin sitting likewise in the Rookie Cup, and 14th overall.
Arden also sit comfortably in the top three in the Teams Cup as the series moves on to Snetterton, Norfolk, on 12-13 June.
Gary Ward, Arden F4 Team Manager said:
“I think there’s a lot of satisfaction we can take in the results we’ve picked up this weekend, as season openers go, it certainly had a lot going on.
“Wet weather is tricky at the best of times, not least on a circuit as high-speed and demanding as Thruxton, so I thought both Tom and Zak performed really well and rose to that challenge.
“To come away with a podium finish and a Rookie victory is a solid return for three action-packed races, and it gives us some confidence and something to build on at Snetterton next time out.
“A big thanks to the entire team for their hard work and commitment over the weekend.”
Thomas Ikin (#10) said:
"I'm pleased with the weekend as a whole. It's unfortunate we went off off mid-race in Race 1 with the pace we had out of the guys on wets, we were making up a lot of places and were going to be well inside the top ten, but thats just how it is when you are pushing hard, but we are still pleased we were able to make the places up we did.
"I'm also happy to also come away with a Rookie win and get some points on the board.
"I’m feeling confident heading to Snetterton that we can build on this and start moving further towards the front of the field."
Zak Taylor (#99) said:
“It was a good start to my British F4 season. I knew I had to make up for a bad qualifying and the choice to go slicks in Race 1 was a great decision.
“In the reverse grid race, I knew I had to capitalise and take as many points as I could. To finish up in P3 on my debut weekend, it couldn’t have gone much better. It was a great reward for myself and for the team who have done a great job over the winter leading up to this first round.
‘Race 3 was unfortunate. I picked up significant damage before the red flag and that meant during the pause while conditions changed from dry to wet, the priority was repairing the car.
“It was a disappointing end to the weekend, but the fact I could even go out and race is a testament to the brilliant team I have behind me.”