7 APRIL, 2018 – The opening day of the 2018 season set the tone for what is sure to be one of the most competitive and thrilling years in the history of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost.

Ayrton Simmons and JHR Developments begun the campaign in emphatic fashion by taking a double pole position and victory in race one. They were pushed all the way by Double R Racing’s Kiern Jewiss, as well as Arden’s Dennis Hauger and Sebastian Priaulx.

It was the latter who turned the tables on Simmons in race two. Priaulx claimed his maiden single-seater win in only his second race in the series, as he followed in the footsteps of Ford GT driver and father Andy Priaulx by winning with Ford EcoBoost power.

Arden’s Red Bull Junior Team drivers Hauger and Jack Doohan also got off to a flying start. Both of them starred on the overall podium and each recorded a Rookie class win.

ROUND 1: SIMMONS TAKES THE SPOILS IN BRITISH F4 OPENER AT BRANDS HATCH

  • Lights-to-flag win for JHR’s Ayrton Simmons.
  • Jewiss and Hauger complete the podium.
  • Hauger takes Rookie class win on car racing debut.

JHR Developments driver Ayrton Simmons converted pole position into victory in the opening round of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost at Brands Hatch.

The Epping-based racer withstood immense pressure around the 1.2-mile Indy circuit from fellow front-row starter Kiern Jewiss (Double R Racing), as well as Dennis Hauger (Arden) and Sebastian Priaulx (Arden). The latter making an excellent getaway to snatch fourth place from Paavo Tonteri at the start.

Simmons remained calm and collected out front in a similar fashion to his maiden victory in the series which came at Brands Hatch almost exactly one year ago.

However, his lead seemed most at threat on the second lap when he ran wide through the exit of Paddock Hill Bend. Jewiss was quick to pounce, carrying more momentum into Druids in an attempt to run around the outside of the leader. Simmons held firm, keeping his composure and went on to record the fastest lap of the race on lap 12 on the way to the chequered flag.

“It’s been a great start to the season, taking double pole and the race win,” said an elated Simmons.

“I couldn’t have asked for more, especially on a weekend where the field is so close. The top four were separated by less than tenth in qualifying and under a second in the race.

“It means you have to get everything spot on and we did that. I’m really proud of the JHR Developments team.

“Rain or shine we’ve had really strong pace. The team is working incredibly well.”

Jewiss had plenty to contend with in his rear view mirrors with Hauger swarming all over his gearbox and Priaulx also in close company. The leading quartet were covered by just 0.934s as they crossed the finish line.

“I pushed Ayrton really hard, but as soon as you get within a car length you just run out of grip,” explained Jewiss.

“It’s so hard to pass around this track. You need to make a good start, which I did, but I had a bit of a slide at Graham Hill Bend on the cold tyres.

“I couldn’t quite capitalise on Ayrton’s mistake on the second lap. I might have been able to pull it off if there had been a bit more temperature in the tyres.

“Now we’ve got the partially reversed grid race. It’s going to be interesting because we start further down the order and we’ve seen how hard it is to pass.”

Hauger’s car racing debut was particularly impressive. The Red Bull Junior Team driver made two trips to the podium, courtesy of his third place overall and Rookie class victory.

“It’s been a good start to the season, especially considering it was my first race in cars,” said Hauger.

“I think I had the speed to win the race, but this track is so tricky to overtake on. That was the most difficult aspect of the race.

“The drivers I was racing against up the front have more experience than me so I’m really proud of how I performed and to be the highest placed Rookie is fantastic.”

Tonteri (Double R Racing) and Jack Doohan (Arden) joined Hauger on the Rookie class podium, the pair both netting solid top-10 finishes in their first car race with fifth and ninth respectively.

It was a milestone race for Fortec Motorsport’s Lucca Allen. The Irish racer made an excellent start to the season with his first point score in the series by finishing 10th, having climbed up from 12th in the opening exchanges.

Team-mate Johnathan Hoggard also finished comfortably inside the points in sixth, ahead of Patrik Pasma (Arden) and Manuel Sulaiman (JHR Developments). Sulaiman climbed several spots at the start to break into the top-10, while Pasma’s seventh earned the Finn reverse grid pole for race two.

Jamie Sharp made a flying start, picking up several places to take 11th and showcased top-10 pace. His hard work was undone by running wide through Clark Curve at the end of lap five, allowing Sebastian Alvarez (Double R Racing), Josh Skelton (JHR Developments) and Hampus Ericsson (Fortec Motorsports) through.

ROUND 2: ARDEN’S SEBASTIAN PRIAULX POWERS TO MAIDEN BRITISH F4 WIN

  • Priaulx takes maiden single-seater win in only his second British F4 race.
  • Simmons takes second place to remain at top of standings.
  • Doohan completes podium and scores first Rookie class win of campaign.
  • Front-runners Hoggard and Pasma miss out on top spots due to time penalties.

Arden’s Sebastian Priaulx took victory in the second race of the 2018 F4 British Championship at Brands Hatch and followed in the footsteps of Ford GT driver and father Andy Priaulx by winning with Ford EcoBoost power.

Although Priaulx finished third on track, he was promoted to first due to 10 second time penalties for front-row starters Johnathan Hoggard (Fortec Motorsports) and Patrik Pasma (Arden) for false starts. Nevertheless, Priaulx put in a flawless drive on the way to his maiden single-seater win in only his second British F4 race.

Having finished less than a second behind race one winner Ayrton Simmons just hours earlier, it was Priaulx’s chance to turn the tables. The 1st CENTRAL Insurance backed rising star seized the opportunity as he kept a hard-charging Simmons at bay. The JHR Developments ace having wasted no time in making his way up the order from seventh on the grid. The pick of his moves a daring lunge down the inside of Tonteri on lap two.

“I didn’t even realise I was leading the race,” said Priaulx. “I kept thinking I was in P3 so it was a big surprise to find out I had actually won the race when I came into parc ferme. I’m pretty shocked and it hasn’t quite sunk in yet.

“I feel like I’m bedding in nicely with the car and the team. It feels great to get this first win in British F4. It’s a really hard championship to win in so I’m over the moon.

“It’s so cool wearing a Ford Performance race suit with the blue Ford oval on it. It’s just like my Dad wears for the GT team and it’s such a good feeling to have won with a Ford EcoBoost engine like he has done in the FIA World Endurance Championship.”

Commented early championship leader Simmons: “It’s been one of the best days I’ve had in motorsport. To achieve a double pole, a race win and a second place at the very beginning of the season is fantastic.

“I knew the guys ahead of me on the grid would be running new tyres to try to capitalise on their starting position and that it would take a little longer for them to get their tyres up to optimum temperature so I really pushed to make up places in the opening laps.

“I’m also surprised and pleased with the fact that our pace was similar to everyone else in the closing stages despite our tyres being older.

“I’ve experience a lot of ups and downs over the last couple of years, but it feels like everything is finally coming together now and that’s incredibly exciting for the year ahead.”

Arden’s Jack Doohan claimed a hard-fought podium, pulling off some superb overtakes and getting the better of Kiern Jewiss and team-mate Dennis Hauger in one fell-swoop with a perfectly-judged move around the outside of them at Druids on lap 12.

“We’ve got off to a really good start today. To be honest I thought the podium would have been more likely in race one when I started seventh as opposed to race two when I started ninth, but it was a good race.

“I thought they had made a mistake when I pulled up in parc ferme and they told me I finished third. I thought I was fifth!

“After the experience of race one, I felt more confident with having other cars around me. I had a much better understanding of how much space to give going into this race and that meant I could really push.

“I overtook Jewiss and Hauger in the same move around the outside. I saw them battling in front of me and felt Jewiss had more pace so I thought if I could get past both of them quickly it would mean I could try to break away while they fought each other.”

It was a case of what might have been for front-row starters Hoggard and Pasma. Despite finishing first and second on the track, as well as their front-running pace, they had to settle for fifth and sixth respectively. Their task of pulling away from the chasing pack made only harder due to a Safety Car on lap five to recover Sebastian Alvarez’s (Double R Racing) stricken car on the exit of Paddock Hill Bend.

Hoggard got the better of polesitter Pasma off the line and along with his 10 points for fifth ended the race with fastest lap as added consolation.

The time penalties for Hoggard and Pasma saw Jewiss and Hauger split on the final classification, the former finishing fourth and the latter seventh.

Lucca Allen (Fortec Motorsports) was back in the points following his maiden point score in race one and was locked in an entertaining midfield scrap with Tonteri. Tonteri struck in the closing stages, passing Allen as they crossed the start/finish line and into Paddock Hill Bend, only for the Finn to come unstuck minutes later in the gravel at Druids.

Manuel Sulaiman (JHR Developments) was another on course for a points haul, but for a five second time penalty for exceeding track limits which promoted Hampus Ericsson (Fortec Motorsports) and Josh Skelton to 10th and 11th. The pair finishing behind Jamie Sharp (Sharp Motorsport) who was able to deliver on the point scoring promise he showed in race one.

Despite missing out on points, JHR Developments driver Skelton bagged third in the Rookie class and with it his first trip to the podium of the season.

Simmons will start from pole for the ITV4 live-televised feature race at 15.05 tomorrow, as he attempts to extend his championship lead. Hauger will line up alongside him and bid for his maiden victory in the series, as well as the Ford Super Rookie Award which would see him take home £5,000.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost

Provisional results Round 1 Brands Hatch Indy, 7 April, 2018
26 laps / 31.40 miles
1 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / JHR 20m 27.311s / 92.12 mph
2 Kiern JEWISS / GBR / Double R +0.362s
3 Dennis HAUGER / NOR / Arden +0.530s
4 Sebastian PRIAULX / GBR / Arden +0.934s
5 Paavo TONTERI / FIN / Double R +2.119s
6 Johnathan HOGGARD / GBR / Fortec +2.416s
7 Patrik PASMA / FIN / Arden +4.641s
8 Manuel SULAIMAN / MEX / JHR +5.040s
9 Jack DOOHAN / AUS / Arden +5.673s
10 Lucca ALLEN / IRE / Fortec +12.483s etc.

Fastest lap: Simmons 46.583s / 93.35 mph

Rookie class: 1 Hauger, 2 Tonteri, 3 Doohan, 4 Alvarez, 5 Skelton

Provisional results Round 2 Brands Hatch Indy, 7 April, 2018
24 laps / 28.98 miles
1 Sebastian PRIAULX / GBR / Arden 20m 16.015s / 85.82 mph
2 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / JHR +0.852s
3 Jack DOOHAN / AUS / Arden +4.127s
4 Kiern JEWISS / GBR / Double R +4.986s
5 Johnathan HOGGARD / GBR / Fortec +8.589s
6 Patrik PASMA / FIN / Arden +9.648s
7 Dennis HAUGER / NOR / Arden +12.871s
8 Lucca ALLEN / IRE / Fortec +13.260s
9 Jamie SHARP / GBR / Sharp +13.380s
10 Hampus ERICSSON / SWE / Fortec +15.726s etc.

Fastest lap: Hoggard 46.395s / 93.73 mph

Rookie class: 1 Doohan, 2 Hauger, 3 Skelton

Round 3 grid order (based on second-fastest times)
Simmons – Hauger – Jewiss – Tonteri – Hoggard – Priaulx – Skelton – Pasma – Sulaiman – Doohan etc.

Provisional championship standings
1 Simmons 43 points; 2 Priaulx 37; 3 Jewiss 30; 4 Hauger 21; 5 Hoggard 18; 6 Doohan 17; 7 Pasma 14; 8 Tonteri 10; 9 Allen 5; 10 Sulaiman 4 etc.

Provisional Rookie Cup standings
1 Hauger 43 points; 2 Doohan 40; 3 Skelton 25; 4 Tonteri 18; 5 Alvarez 12

Full results