BRANDS HATCH PREVIEW: Down to the wire

27 September 2018 – With nine meetings and 27 races now complete, the fight for the 2018 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost title will draw to a close this weekend when the series heads to Brands Hatch for the final meeting of the campaign.

On the back of a dramatic weekend of racing at Silverstone, just two drivers remain in contention for the overall title, with Kiern Jewiss (Double R) and Ayrton Simmons (JHR) set to go head-to-head to determine who will become the latest rising star to lift the championship crown.

A hugely impressive campaign from Jewiss has put him very much in the box seat heading into the final weekend, with three podium finishes at Silverstone taking him to 17 for the season.

Although he was unable to add to the five victories he has enjoyed over the course of his first season in single-seater competition, a hat-trick of top three finishes allowed Jewiss to take a huge step towards the title.

Whilst it would have been easy to sit back and simply pick up the points, the 16-year-old elected to go on the attack and the end result was a championship lead that was exactly double what it had been going into the penultimate weekend of racing.

With a lead of 62 points and only 75 still available from the final three races this weekend, Jewiss is now the hot favourite to take the title but don’t expect Simmons to give up without a fight.

A DNF in the final race of the weekend at Silverstone came at the worst possible time for the driver who has scored more British F4 points than any other, with Simmons now taking the approach of pushing to the maximum and what will be, will be.

Simmons will hope to add to the twelve podium finishes he has enjoyed so far this season to end his year on a high, whilst three strong results will also ensure he maintains his championship position ahead of what is proving to be a titanic battle for third place.

That position is currently held by Dennis Hauger, who leads fellow Red Bull Junior racer Jack Doohan by just three points.

For the second meeting in succession at Silverstone, Hauger saw his Arden team-mate cut his advantage in the points, with Doohan picking up three podium finishes – including a third win of the year.

By contrast, Hauger has now gone eight races without a trip to the podium and has also slipped behind Doohan in the battle to secure the Rookie Cup crown. A perfect score for the Australian at Silverstone, making him the first driver this season to achieve the feat, means he takes an advantage of 15 points into this weekend’s finale.

Whilst it’s understandable that the two rookies will be focused on each other this weekend, they’d do well to also keep an eye on Johnathan Hoggard (Fortec), who maintained his astonishing run of form during the second half of the season during the Silverstone weekend.

For the second meeting in a row, Hoggard won both race one and race three and has taken five victories in the past nine races – and a season-high seven in total.

More wins are very much the target for Hoggard, who insists he will continue with the same approach that has served him so well in recent events.

Just behind Hoggard in the standings is Patrik Pasma, the only driver who has scored more points than him since racing resumed after the summer break.

The Finn picked up his tenth podium of the season last time out at Silverstone and still retains a chance of a top three championship finish to conclude his second season in the series.

Fellow Arden racer Seb Priaulx has an impressive record of finishing on the podium at Brands Hatch and will hope to add to his tally to secure seventh place in the standings having moved ahead of Paavo Tonteri (Double R) over the course of the Silverstone weekend.

Truth be told, the penultimate meeting of the campaign was one to forget for both drivers, with Priaulx picking up just ten points and Tonteri managing just five after a DNF in race two.

It leave the pair, who have a combined 13 podium finishes over the course of the year, level pegging on points with Priaulx ahead thanks to a superior finishing record.

By contrast to the two drivers ahead, Manuel Sulaiman (JHR) enjoyed his highest scoring weekend of the season at Silverstone to move ahead of team-mate Josh Skelton into ninth in the standings – with eight points between the pair.

Outside the top ten, Sebastian Alvarez (Double R), Jamie Sharp (Sharp Motorsport) and Lucca Allen (Fortec) round out the grid for the final weekend of the year and are split by just eleven points in their private battle for twelfth in the standings.

With battles up and down the field, it’s sure to be an action-packed way to bring the curtain down on the 2018 campaign.