- Fortec racer maintains strong form with sixth victory of the season
- Championship leader Jewiss extends advantage to 41 points with runner-up position
- Doohan retakes Rookie Cup lead with overall podium
15 September, 2018 – Johnathan Hoggard saw off the challenge of points leader Kiern Jewiss to secure his sixth victory of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost season in the opening race of the weekend at Silverstone.
The Fortec driver had qualified on pole position for Round 25 of the season and was able to lead the race from the front, despite the best efforts of Jewiss behind, to maintain an impressive run of form that has seen him take victory in four of the last six races.
Having held his lead when the lights went out and the field streamed down to Copse for the first time, Hoggard was able to manage the gap to fellow front-row started Jewiss, with the pair never split by more than a second throughout the 21 lap race.
Whilst Hoggard would at one point eek out an advantage of nine tenths of a second, Jewiss would then respond to bring the gap back down and it was Hoggard who would ultimately prevail to take honours by seven tenths of a second.
“The start was good and I could build a small gap to Kiern but it became a bit tricky after that,” he said. “He was losing out in the dirty hair behind me at points but could then come back at me with the slipstream on the straights so I couldn’t relax.
“I think I managed it well to stay out front and I’m delighted to take the victory. We’ll have to see what I can do with the reverse grid race as I’ve seen now that the dirty air following another car could be an issue, so I have to maximise what I can from that and then push for victory again from the front in race three.”
Whilst Jewiss kept Hoggard honest at the front throughout, the Double R driver also had one eye on the championship battle and aware of the need to outscore chief rival Ayrton Simmons, he ultimately settled for second place to extend his advantage to 41 points.
“It was important to go out there and extend my lead, although Ayrton has the reverse grid pole so we’ll have to see what happens there,” he said. “I got close to Johnathan a few times in that one but I wasn’t going to do anything stupid because it’s only the opening race of the weekend and there are still two more to come. It’s important to look at the bigger picture.”
Behind the top two, the fight for third spot would prove to be an all-Arden affair between Red Bull Junior drivers Jack Doohan and Dennis Hauger, with the pair running together throughout.
Having battled ahead of Patrik Pasma (Arden) on lap one, Doohan was soon under pressure from current Rookie cup leader Hauger after the Norwegian was able to jump up from eighth on the grid to fourth on lap one – thanked in part to a slow start from Paavo Tonteri (Double R) and an early spin into retirement for Josh Skelton (JHR).
Hauger would push hard throughout the race but Doohan held on to secure the final place on the podium and top rookie honours.
“It’s good to get the podium and a rookie win but we didn’t have the pace for some reason,” he said. “Dennis started P8 but was on my rear by the end of lap one. It was a good start from him, but he had more pace and I had to work hard to stay in front. I’ll work with the team tonight to see what we can do ahead of the races tomorrow.”
Pasma would see his run of podium finishes come to an end as he had to settle for a somewhat lonely fifth place, unable to keep pace with his team-mates ahead but being able to manage the gap to Simmons behind.
Simmons will however start the second race of the weekend from pole thanks to the reverse grid regulations.
Manuel Sulaiman (JHR) was forced to fight hard to keep a recovering Tonteri (Double R) at bay throughout the race with the pair dicing for seventh throughout the 20 minute encounter before the Mexican driver held on, with Seb Priaulx (Arden) and the returning Lucca Allen (Fortec) rounding out the top ten.
Sebastian Alvarez (Double R) and Jamie Sharp (Sharp Motorsport) rounded out the finishers after Skelton’s early retirement, with Christian Lester (Rosso Verde/Scorpio) being forced to miss the race as a result of his incident in qualifying, with the team now working to ensure the rookie can make his series debut in Sunday’s races.
Race two will take place at 09:40 with Race three live on ITV4 at 15:20.