He is still only 15 years old and a rookie, but Welsh ex-karter Matthew Rees is already a double winner in the British Formula 4 Championship. Is there any stopping him?
The road to single-seaters has not been easy for Matthew Rees. In 2019 he had to put his promising karting career on hold due to family illness. Half way 2020 he picked up his career and got the chance to do some testing in JHR Developments simulator and eventually he got to testing the real thing. JHR liked what they saw and contracted him for 2021.
At JHR he has two other rookies as a team mate (McKenzy Cresswell and Joseph Loake) and a returnee (Abbi Pulling). Rees is happy with Pulling, especially as a reference point. “Abbi is a second-year driver and is very fast, so she is a brilliant person to compare myself to and it’s been a good team effort in that regard.” But Loake and Creswell can also count on his approval. “All of us drivers get on well, we talk, we joke, and we are getting good data.”
After only two rounds it’s hard to not see the talent the kid possesses. At Thruxton and Snetterton he took al four pole positions. Showing that kind of outright pace off the bat is not seen often. But it did not stop there. At Snetterton he took his maiden car racing win and added a second to it the same weekend.
“I had a lot of confidence coming into qualifying after being quickest in free practice two by a tenth or so. It put us in good stead, and it showed as we went four tenths quicker than anyone and got the double pole, so that was a huge confidence boost going into race one.
“The start wasn’t wonderful, but we were able to get away and open the gap up to 5.5 seconds. It helped that McKenzy and Hedley were fighting for second, but I was still confident I could get a good gap. Race two really isn’t worth talking about. It gives you good practice for overtaking and improving your race craft. We had an okay race, we moved forward and got something out of it, so the day had its ups and downs.
“In race three I was increasing the gap until the Safety Car but didn’t get a good restart. McKenzy then fell back and his fight with [Marcos] Flack helped me get a gap, so getting double pole and two wins was great! We proved ourselves and showed we can fight and challenge throughout the year. I am really happy with the weekend, and we’ve climbed from 11th to second in the championship so from here we can push for the title.”
After two rounds Rees sits second in the championship trailing only returnee James Hedley by 25 points. Next British F4 round is June 26 – 27 at Brands Hatch.