Simmons takes the spoils in British F4 opener at Brands Hatch

  • Lights-to-flag win for JHR’s Ayrton Simmons.
  • Jewiss and Hauger complete the podium.
  • Hauger takes Rookie class win on car racing debut.

7 APRIL, 2018 – JHR Developments driver Ayrton Simmons converted pole position into victory in the opening round of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost at Brands Hatch.

The Epping-based racer withstood immense pressure around the 1.2-mile Indy circuit from fellow front-row starter Kiern Jewiss (Double R Racing), as well as Dennis Hauger (Arden) and Sebastian Priaulx (Arden). The latter making an excellent getaway to snatch fourth place from Paavo Tonteri at the start.

Simmons remained calm and collected out front in a similar fashion to his maiden victory in the series which came at Brands Hatch almost exactly one year ago.

However, his lead seemed most at threat on the second lap when he ran wide through the exit of Paddock Hill Bend. Jewiss was quick to pounce, carrying more momentum into Druids in an attempt to run around the outside of the leader. Simmons held firm, keeping his composure and went on to record the fastest lap of the race on lap 12 on the way to the chequered flag.

“It’s been a great start to the season, taking double pole and the race win,” said an elated Simmons.

“I couldn’t have asked for more, especially on a weekend where the field is so close. The top four were separated by less than tenth in qualifying and under a second in the race.

“It means you have to get everything spot on and we did that. I’m really proud of the JHR Developments team.

“Rain or shine we’ve had really strong pace. The team is working incredibly well.”

Jewiss had plenty to contend with in his rear view mirrors with Hauger swarming all over his gearbox and Priaulx also in close company. The leading quartet were covered by just 0.934s as they crossed the finish line.

“I pushed Ayrton really hard, but as soon as you get within a car length you just run out of grip,” explained Jewiss.

“It’s so hard to pass around this track. You need to make a good start, which I did, but I had a bit of a slide at Graham Hill Bend on the cold tyres.

“I couldn’t quite capitalise on Ayrton’s mistake on the second lap. I might have been able to pull it off if there had been a bit more temperature in the tyres.

“Now we’ve got the partially reversed grid race. It’s going to be interesting because we start further down the order and we’ve seen how hard it is to pass.”

Hauger’s car racing debut was particularly impressive. The Red Bull Junior Team driver made two trips to the podium, courtesy of his third place overall and Rookie class victory.

“It’s been a good start to the season, especially considering it was my first race in cars,” said Hauger.

“I think I had the speed to win the race, but this track is so tricky to overtake on. That was the most difficult aspect of the race.

“The drivers I was racing against up the front have more experience than me so I’m really proud of how I performed and to be the highest placed Rookie is fantastic.”

Tonteri (Double R Racing) and Jack Doohan (Arden) joined Hauger on the Rookie class podium, the pair both netting solid top-10 finishes in their first car race with fifth and ninth respectively.

It was a milestone race for Fortec Motorsport’s Lucca Allen. The Irish racer made an excellent start to the season with his first point score in the series by finishing 10th, having climbed up from 12th in the opening exchanges.

Team-mate Johnathan Hoggard also finished comfortably inside the points in sixth, ahead of Patrik Pasma (Arden) and Manuel Sulaiman (JHR Developments). Sulaiman climbed several spots at the start to break into the top-10, while Pasma’s seventh earned the Finn reverse grid pole for race two.

Jamie Sharp made a flying start, picking up several places to take 11th and showcased top-10 pace. His hard work was undone by running wide through Clark Curve at the end of lap five, allowing Sebastian Alvarez (Double R Racing), Josh Skelton (JHR Developments) and Hampus Ericsson (Fortec Motorsports) through.

Attention now turns the second Ford EcoBoost-powered race of the season which kicks off at 17.40.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost

Provisional results Round 1 Brands Hatch Indy, 7 April, 2018
26 laps / 31.40 miles
1 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / JHR 20m 27.311s / 92.12 mph
2 Kiern JEWISS / GBR / Double R +0.362s
3 Dennis HAUGER / NOR / Arden +0.530s
4 Sebastian PRIAULX / GBR / Arden +0.934s
5 Paavo TONTERI / FIN / Double R +2.119s
6 Johnathan HOGGARD / GBR / Fortec +2.416s
7 Patrik PASMA / FIN / Arden +4.641s
8 Manuel SULAIMAN / MEX / JHR +5.040s
9 Jack DOOHAN / AUS / Arden +5.673s
10 Lucca ALLEN / IRE / Fortec +12.483s etc.

Fastest lap: Simmons 46.583s / 93.35 mph

Rookie class: 1 Hauger, 2 Tonteri, 3 Doohan, 4 Alvarez, 5 Skelton

Grid for Round 2: Pasma – Hoggard – Tonteri – Priaulx – Hauger – Jewiss – Simmons – Sulaiman – Doohan – Allen etc.

Provisional championship standings
1 Simmons 25 points; 2 Jewiss 18; 3 Hauger 15; 4 Priaulx 12; 5 Tonteri 10; 6 Hoggard 8; 7 Pasma 6; 8 Sulaiman 4; 9 Doohan 2; 10 Allen 1

Provisional Rookie class standings
1 Hauger 25 points; 2 Tonteri 18; 3 Doohan 15; 4 Alvarez 12; 5 Skelton 10

Full results