- Doohan quickest in free practice one and overall, as Hauger tops second session.
- Jewiss not far behind with the top three covered by just over a tenth of a second and the leading six drivers separated by only three tenths.
22 JUNE, 2018 – Arden and the Red Bull Junior Team made it a clean sweep in free practice at Croft ahead of this weekend’s rounds of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost, as Jack Doohan and Dennis Hauger topped free practice one and two respectively.
At the end the day it was 15-year-old Doohan fastest overall. The Aussie’s best lap around the 2.125-mile North Yorkshire track came in the morning and was a tenth of a second quicker than Double R Racing’s Kiern Jewiss. The latter splitting the Arden pair courtesy of his best effort in free practice one, with Hauger only 0.044s further back on the combined classification.
Doohan shone in testing at Croft earlier this the month and picked up where he left off, looking comfortable behind the wheel as he pushed the limits out on track.
Hauger appeared equally impressive, bouncing back well from a technical gremlin which hindered him in the morning session to set the pace in the afternoon.
“This morning I was able to go quickest on the new tyre,” said Doohan. “There was still a little bit of work to do on older tyres so we were trying some things to find some race pace in the afternoon, but that meant we didn’t show the same kind of pace on the new tyre.
“All in all, it’s been a good day because when you look at the whole picture we’ve now found good pace on both new and old tyres.
“We know where we can improve ahead of qualifying so we should be on for a good result.
“We’re not as quick as we were in testing at the beginning of June because we were first out this morning and had to clear all the dust off the circuit and then as the day progressed the temperature got much hotter.
“It’s great to have both Arden’s Red Bull Junior Team cars at the top, although obviously I always want to be the quickest out of the two of us! We want to get a fantastic team result this weekend and that all starts with performing well in qualifying.
“The Croft track is one of the most abrasive surfaces on the calendar and that kind of surface suits my driving so it’s definitely a circuit I like. It’s very technical and difficult. There’s little room for error and it’s a track I have clicked with.”
Added Hauger: “In free practice one we lacked a little bit of speed because of a technical problem, but thankfully we had another session to play with and show that we have really good pace which we can hopefully carry into qualifying.
“There are lots of different corner types here which makes the circuit very interesting and it also really punishes you even if you make just a tiny error.
“We were up there in testing when we came here earlier this month so hopefully we can get a strong team result.
“There are small details we can work on tonight so that we can find even more pace.”
Meanwhile, championship leader Jewiss looks set to be a major player once again despite not feeling completely at one with the circuit at this early stage in weekend.
“It was a pretty tough day for us,” explained Jewiss. “We’re just missing a little bit in sector three. We need to work hard on it overnight. I cannot quite get my head around it at the moment, but we’ll analyse all the data we’ve got and see what happens tomorrow.
“We’ve made a step forward with the car and my driving since the test here earlier in the month so that’s all positive. If we can get on top of sector three then we might end up with a tenth on the rest of the field.
“It feels good coming into the weekend leading the championship, but I want to leave here still leading it and finish the season on top too!”
Fortec Motorsports’ Johnathan Hoggard made a strong start to proceedings. Third fastest in free practice one and fourth overall, setting the double race winner up for what should be a fruitful weekend.
Flying Finn’s Patrik Pasma (Arden) and Paavo Tonteri (Double R Racing) continue to be on front-running pace and wound up fifth and sixth on the timesheet, only two tenths adrift of top spot.
Elsewhere, Sebastian Priaulx looks like he’s going to be back in the mix for top honours this weekend after a solid day’s running, just three tenths off of team-mate Doohan’s best.
Manuel Sulaiman (JHR Developments) pipped compatriot Sebastian Alvarez (Double R Racing) to eighth by a mere 0.032s, while Josh Skelton (JHR Developments) completed the top 10 ahead of Hampus Ericsson (Fortec Motorsports) and second-place man in the standings Ayrton Simmons (JHR Developments).
Official qualifying is scheduled for 1050 on Saturday. The first of the Croft weekend’s three races is set to follow at 1445. Rounds 14 and 15 of the season will take place as 1245 and 1600 respectively, with both to be screened live on ITV4.
F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost
Free practice times Croft, 22 June, 2018 (FP1/FP2)
1 Jack DOOHAN / AUS / Arden 1:21.124 / 1:21.652
2 Kiern JEWISS / GBR / Double R 1:21.241 / 1:21.425
3 Dennis HAUGER / NOR / Arden 1:21.484 / 1:21.285
4 Johnathan HOGGARD / GBR / Fortec 1:21.329 / 1:21.744
5 Patrik PASMA / FIN / Arden 1:21.333 / 1:22.090
6 Paavo TONTERI / FIN / Double R 1:21.337 / 1:21.839
7 Sebastian PRIAULX / GBR / Arden 1:21.426 / 1:21.469
8 Manuel SULAIMAN / MEX / JHR 1:21.719 / 1:22.759
9 Sebastian ALVAREZ / MEX / Double R 1:21.893 / 1:22.287
10 Josh SKELTON / GBR / JHR 1:22.217 / 1:21.881 etc.