|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.