- Doohan and Arden quickest at Thruxton by almost half a second.
- All three Double R drivers finish the session in the top five, with Jewiss quickest and proving Doohan’s closest challenger.
18 MAY, 2018 – Jack Doohan and Arden were quickest in free practice at Thruxton for the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost. Doohan rose to the top of the times with two thirds of the session left on the clock, and would stay there until the chequer.
The Aussie remained one step ahead of the field. Although the times set by his rivals tumbled, so did his. The Red Bull Junior driver consistently improved and wrapped up the session in style with a final flourish. A lap of 1m 13.175s with five minutes remaining saw him go 0.420s faster than his closest challenger Kiern Jewiss, as well as 0.089s quicker than the qualifying lap record set by Sandy Mitchell and Arden in 2015.
“This has been a really good start to the weekend for us,” said Doohan. “It’s only practice of course, but I feel like I’m driving well.
“I didn’t really know where I was on the timesheet. I was just focusing on getting the best out of myself and going as fast as possible.
“There’s definitely more in the tank, because my quickest lap wasn’t perfect. I got a tow behind Priaulx after recording a really strong time in the first sector and just pieced the lap together, using the tyre in the right way.
“We kept on getting better and better out on track. We set our best time on older tyres so there should be more to come on new tyres if we can hook the lap up.
“I know there’s more to come from me too. This is only my third race weekend in British F4 and it’s my first season racing cars. I’m confident I will only get stronger as the year goes on.”
It was another strong start to the weekend for Double R Racing’s Jewiss, who looks increasingly accustomed to occupying the top spots on the timesheets and showcasing front-running pace.
“It was a good session for us,” commented Jewiss. “That was a really quick lap from Doohan. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a time similar to that here. I feel that if they’ve gone for a very stiff setup to get that time, it’s going not going to work around here in the races because it’s going to work the tyres too hard.
“We’ll see what we can do tonight. The car felt pretty good on track so let’s see what happens. I think the pace is there and the team is working really well.
“At Donington Park we were able to attack really well and I think we are definitely capable of doing the same here.
“At Thruxton it’s possible to get a really good tow which means that you can come up through the order and perhaps being on pole isn’t the biggest advantage because you risk being under more pressure from drivers behind in the slipstream.
“Nevertheless, the goal is always to be quickest and to secure pole in qualifying. We’ll certainly give our all tomorrow to achieve that.”
Jewiss’ team-mate Sebastian Alvarez and Arden driver Dennis Hauger recorded identical times in third and fourth, while Paavo Tonteri ensured all three Double R-prepared cars finished the session in the top five.
Next on the timesheet could be found the JHR Developments pair of Ayrton Simmons and Manuel Sulaiman. The duo left it until later in the session to show more of their hand and look very likely to be in the fight for honours this weekend. Meanwhile, team-mate Josh Skelton wound up eighth, sandwiched between Arden’s Patrik Pasma and Sebastian Priaulx.
Hampus Ericsson was best of the Fortec Motorsports trio in 11th, ahead of Donington Park race winner Johnathan Hoggard and Lucca Allen, with Jamie Sharp (Sharp Motorsport) in 14th.
Qualifying gets underway at 1125 tomorrow with the first race of the weekend taking place at 1610. Two more races follow on Sunday at 1250 and 1625, with both being broadcast live on ITV4.
F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost
Free practice times Thruxton, 18 May, 2018
1 Jack DOOHAN / AUS / Arden 1:13.175
2 Kiern JEWISS / GBR / Double R 1:13.595
3 Sebastian ALVAREZ / MEX / Double R 1:13.674
4 Dennis HAUGER / NOR / Arden 1:13.674
5 Paavo TONTERI / FIN / Double R 1:13.721
6 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / JHR 1:13.762
7 Manuel SULAIMAN / MEX / JHR 1:13.848
8 Patrik PASMA / FIN / Arden 1:14.033
9 Josh SKELTON / GBR / JHR 1:14.043
10 Sebastian PRIAULX / GBR / Arden 1:14.219 etc.