Simmons triumphs in titanic tussle for pole at Brands Hatch

  • Double pole for Ayrton Simmons and JHR Developments.
  • Top four drivers Simmons, Jewiss, Hauger and Tonteri covered by just 0.065s

7 APRIL, 2018 – The first qualifying session of 2018 set the tone for what is sure to be one of the most competitive and thrilling seasons in the history of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost. It saw the top four drivers covered by just 0.065s at Brands Hatch and JHR Developments’ Ayrton Simmons take an emphatic double pole position, more than 30 years after 1982 British Formula Ford champion and namesake Ayrton Senna scored pole at the circuit for the 1985 European Grand Prix.

A gentle sprinkling of rain prior to the session left the circuit damp and drivers working hard to build up temperature in their Hankook slick tyres while battling for pole.

As the clock ticked down the times tumbled with Simmons, Kiern Jewiss (Double R Racing), Dennis Hauger (Arden) and Paavo Tonteri (Double R Racing) embroiled in a captivating tussle for pole position.

Simmons saved his very best until last, his penultimate flying lap of 46.494s earning him pole by a margin of 0.031s from Jewiss.

The Epping racer then followed up on his final flyer to double his fun by taking pole for race three, recording the best second-fastest lap of anybody, a 46.550. It was a mere 0.009s quicker than Hauger who will line-up alongside him on the front row for the ITV4 live-televised feature race at 15.05 tomorrow.

“This is my first pole in a single-seater and it feels amazing,” said Simmons. “It was tricky on circuit too with the mixed conditions so that makes it extra special. I had to be spot on at every single corner and I was!

“Jewiss was in front of me so I had a good reference, but I saw him squeeze in another lap at the very end so I was worried he might go faster.

“The team got the strategy spot on; keeping us in the pits a little longer and then sending us out on the slicks.

“The team have done an amazing job. I’ve clicked so well with everyone at JHR Developments and hopefully we can convert these pole positions into wins. I won here last year so let’s see if we can do it again!”

Last man across the line Jewiss looked on course to snatch pole from Simmons, recording the quickest first sector of anybody on his final lap, but was ultimately unable to improve his lap time.

“I went purple (quickest) in the first part of the lap on my last flyer, but I had a bit of traffic and made a slight mistake in the final corner which cost me,” said Jewiss.

“I’m still really happy with P2, especially here where there is a bit of a dip in the track if you start on pole. I’m feeling positive and looking forward to race one.”

The second row of the grid for race one was locked out by rookies Hauger and Tonteri, the pair shining in their first single-seater qualifying session and setting up a fascinating battle for Rookie class victory this weekend.

“It’s been a good session considering it was my first time qualifying in a car,” explained Hauger. “It was getting drier and drier throughout the session and the pace continued to improve.

“Now it’s all about being focused on the race. I’m looking forward to my first race in cars. I’ve got a lot to learn, but hopefully we can fight at front and for the win.”

Friday pacesetter Johanthan Hoggard (Fortec Motorsports), Jack Doohan (Arden) and Patrik Pasma (Arden) were all strong contenders for pole, taking turns at the top of the timesheet during the session. They will line up sixth, seventh and eighth respectively, behind Sebastian Priaulx (Arden).

Josh Skelton (JHR Developments) landed a top-10 grid spot on his British F4 qualifying debut ahead of Fortec Motorsport’s Hampus Ericsson.

The first race of the 2018 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost gets underway at 14.15. It will see Simmons attempting to add a second win at Brands Hatch to his name, having done so at this very circuit last season.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost

Provisional qualifying times Brands Hatch Indy, 7 April, 2018
1 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / JHR 46.494s
2 Kiern JEWISS / GBR / Double R 46.525s
3 Dennis HAUGER / NOR / Arden 46.552s
4 Paavo TONTERI / FIN / Double R 46.559s
5 Sebastian PRIAULX / GBR / Arden 46.713s
6 Johnathan HOGGARD / GBR / Fortec 46.721s
7 Jack DOOHAN / AUS / Arden 46.816s
8 Patrik PASMA / FIN / Arden 46.878s
9 Josh SKELTON / GBR / JHR 46.915s
10 Hampus ERICSSON / SWE / Fortec 46.953s etc.

Round 3 grid order (based on second-fastest times)
Simmons – Hauger – Jewiss – Tonteri – Hoggard – Priaulx – Skelton – Pasma – Sulaiman – Doohan etc.

Full times