- Arden driver takes pole in final qualifying session of the season
- Hoggard to start finale from top spot
- Advantage Jewiss in the race for the title
29 September 2018 – He left it as late as possible, but Sebastian Priaulx ensured he will end the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost season with a pole position to his name after topping the times in qualifying at Brands Hatch.
The Arden driver, looking to bounce back from a tough weekend at Silverstone last time out, was one of five drivers to sit on top of the times in a tightly-fought qualifying session around the Grand Prix circuit and would set his best time literally seconds before the chequered flag came out.
A best time of 1:25.822s was the quickest time set so far this weekend and leaves Priaulx well positioned to try and repeat the victory he secured on the shorter Indy circuit at the start of the season.
“It’s a good confidence boost for me as I’ve struggled a bit at times this season for one reason and another,” he said. “But I have always loved Brands Hatch and been successful here in the past, including on the Indy circuit back at the start of the year.
“The GP layout is an amazing circuit so it’s great to get pole here; it’s been a long time coming. I’m pleased to have done it before the end of the season and I’m sure if we get a good start in the race, I’ll be able to stay ahead.”
Priaulx’s late lap prevented Fortec’s Johnathan Hoggard from making it three successive pole positions, with the seven-time race winner having looked well placed to make four poles for the season.
Hoggard will however start the final race of the season from pole having topped the list of second best times.
“We knew we had the pace from practice and it was a case of doing it in qualifying,” he said. “It’s a shame to be pipped for pole in race one but that’s how it goes sometimes and you can’t expect to be quickest all the time.
“Pole for race three is good and my confidence is high, so hopefully we can end the year strongly.”
Whilst the top were split by just 0.074s, there was something of gap behind to Double R’s Paavo Tonteri, who matched his best qualifying result with third on the grid as he seeks to end his year on a high after a tough run of recent form that has seen him slip to eighth in the points.
“I’m happy with my performance,” he said. “We were quick in practice yesterday but need to see why there is a gap of a few tenths this morning in qualifying and make a few changes.
“They say that a racing driver is only as good as his last result so I want to try and pick up some good results this weekend to end the year on a high.”
Fellow Finn Patrik Pasma (Arden) will share the second row of the grid with Tonteri, with the two title contenders lining up together on row three.
Current points leader Kiern Jewiss (Double R) was just 0.069s ahead of Ayrton Simmons (JHR) in fifth and will take the title if he finishes ahead in race one later this afternoon. Simmons however is refusing to give up on the title despite being more than 60 points behind with just 75 still to play for.
“We’ve got to go for it and see what happens,” he said. “I’ll be trying my hardest to get ahead of Kiern and keep the title fight alive. I want to make sure I secure second place in the standings but whilst the championship is there to be won, I’ll keep fighting for it. The chance is small, but that remains my aim.”
Outside the top six, Manuel Sulaiman was seventh quickest for JHR ahead of the two Red Bull Junior racers embroiled in the battle for the Rookie Cup. Just 0.095s split the two Arden drivers, with Dennis Hauger ahead of Jack Doohan as he seeks to overturn the 15 point gap between the pair in the standings.
Sebastian Alvarez (Double R) rounded out the top ten, with Lucca Allen (Fortec), Josh Skelton (JHR) and Jamie Sharp (Sharp Motorsport) completing a grid covered by just 1.4s.
The opening race of the weekend, which will be broadcast live on ITV.com, will start at 16:35.
F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost
Provisional qualifying times Brands Hatch, 29 September, 2018
1 Sebastian PRIAULX / GBR / Arden 1:25.822
2 Johnathan HOGGARD / GBR / Fortec 1:25.896
3 Paavo TONTERI / FIN / Double R 1:26.081
4 Patrik PASMA / FIN / Arden 1:26.284
5 Kiern JEWISS / GBR / Double R 1:26.338
6 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / JHR 1:26.407
7 Manuel SULAIMAN / MEX / JHR 1:26.536
8 Dennis HAUGER / NOR / Arden 1:26.573
9 Jack DOOHAN / AUS / Arden 1:26.668
10 Sebastian ALVAREZ / MEX / Double R 1:26.800 etc
Round 30 grid order (based on second-fastest times)
Hoggard – Priaulx – Tonteri – Pasma – Jewiss – Simmons – Sulaiman – Hauger – Doohan – Allen etc