Doohan wins as rookies rule at Snetterton

  • Doohan and Hauger capitalise in tricky conditions to take one-two finish.
  • Tonteri leaves it late to snatch third, ensuring series’ first all-rookie overall podium.

29 JULY, 2018 – History was made at Snetterton in round 18 of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost as three rookies locked out the overall podium spots for the first time in the series. Jack Doohan led an Arden and Red Bull Junior Team one-two with Dennis Hauger second, while Double R Racing’s Paavo Tonteri picked up third on the last lap.

A damp Snetterton circuit set the scene for an eventful finale to the meeting as the field elected to race on slick tyres. Ford’s rising stars acquitted themselves well around the three-mile Norfolk circuit, however the tricky conditions played a pivotal role in proceedings.

Patrik Pasma (Arden) and Johnathan Hoggard (Fortec Motorsports) were forced to relinquish their leads at different stages of the race as a result of running on the damp part of the circuit. Pasma on lap three and Hoggard on lap six.

Hoggard and Doohan both picked up a pair of places on the opening lap from fourth and fifth respectively, as poleman Pasma fended off Kiern Jewiss (Double R Racing) and Ayrton Simmons (JHR Developments). Jewiss ultimately shuffled down several places and Simmons losing one position.

The race-winning move took place on lap six as a wider line through Riches on the damp part of the track opened the door for Doohan to pass Hoggard on the inside, and moments later at the same corner, Hauger squeezed past Simmons in a similar fashion.

Tonteri wasted no time in dispatching Simmons on the following lap at Nelson. Elsewhere Hauger pulled off an identical move to his team-mate to pass Hoggard at Riches, while Tonteri left it late to scythe up the inside of Hoggard on the final lap to take the final podium spot, leaving Hoggard in fourth ahead of Ayrton Simmons.

“I tried to get the best start possible, but I knew that starting on the outside meant it wouldn’t be as good other drivers,” explained race winner Doohan.

“I was watching everyone go off the track when they were in front. Patrik and Johnathan got caught out at turn one which cost them during the race and I didn’t want to make the same mistake.

“I just focused on staying cool, sticking to my marks and not letting the nerves get to me, as I made my way up the order.

“I’m not thinking about the championship at the moment. I’m just taking each race as it comes and hopefully everything else will take care of itself.”

Added Hauger: “Overall it’s been a pretty good weekend. We won race one, which was a great race in which we brought home plenty of points.

“For race two we started towards the back, but did well to get up to sixth. Then to end the weekend by starting sixth and finishing second in this race was good, especially considering the difficult track conditions.”

Commented Tonteri: “It sounds obvious, but the key to that race was to go as fast as possible without going off track and I think I did that very well.

“In the early stages quite a few moves were made when drivers were forced wide onto wet parts of the track. I worked that out and used it to my advantage.”

Fortec Motorsports’ Hampus Ericsson was in the mix for the podium for much of the race, but contact with Simmons and a later off saw the Swede retire from the race.

Although he finished eighth on the road, Manuel Sulaiman (JHR Developments) was demoted to ninth because of a 10-second time penalty for an out of position start. It promoted Fortec Motorsports’ Lucca Allen up to eighth, equalling his best result of the season as he finished behind the Arden pair of Pasma and Sebastian Priaulx. The latter doing well to remain in the running after contact with Sulaiman. Meanwhile, Jamie Sharp (Sharp Motorsport) was back in the points, 24 hours after bagging a top-10 finish in round 16.

Despite starting on the front row and getting away well, damage to his front wing in the opening exchanges left Jewiss gradually falling through the order as he put up a spirited rear-guard action in his Double R-prepared racer. He was forced to pit for a new nosecone in the closing stages, ultimately scuppering his chances of salvaging some hard-earned points and seeing his championship lead reduced to 29 points.

The F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost resumes in two weeks at Rockingham Motor Speedway on 11/12 August.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost

Provisional results Round 18 Snetterton, 29 July, 2018
11 laps / 32.65 miles
1 Jack DOOHAN / AUS / Arden 21m 23.270s / 91.61 mph
2 Dennis HAUGER / NOR / Arden +0.869s
3 Paavo TONTERI / FIN / Double R +5.184s
4 Johnathan HOGGARD / GBR / Fortec +6.082s
5 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / JHR +9.331s
6 Patrik PASMA / FIN / Arden +9.585s
7 Sebastian PRIAULX / GBR / Arden +17.905s
8 Lucca ALLEN / IRE / Fortec +23.143s
9 Manuel SULAIMAN / MEX / JHR +28.121s
10 Jamie SHARP / GBR / Sharp +28.177s etc.

Fastest lap: Tonteri 1m 54.392s / 93.43 mph

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

Provisional championship standings
1 Jewiss 279 points; 2 Simmons 250; 3 Hauger 233; 4 Doohan 201; 5 Tonteri 199; 6 Priaulx 160; 7 Hoggard 132; 8 Pasma 126; 9 Skelton 63; 10 Ericsson 48 etc.

Provisional Rookie Cup standings
1 Hauger 330 points; 2 Doohan 317; 3 Tonteri 309; 4 Skelton 229; 5 Alvarez 161

Full results

2018 British F4 season preview: Ford’s winning formula continues

5 APRIL, 2018 – The winning formula continues for the 2018 instalment of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost, with the season getting underway at Brands Hatch this weekend.

2017 saw a rich crop of talent provide an abundance of scintillating wheel-to-wheel action in what was Ford’s 50th consecutive year at the forefront of junior single-seaters. Records were broken, boundaries of performance pushed and the bar raised even higher in the only single-seater series in Britain open to 15-year-old drivers.

This year British F4 boasts another top-quality field. It is headed by a four-car entry from Arden which includes the Red Bull Junior Team duo of Jack Doohan and Dennis Hauger. Doohan, son of five-time 500cc MotoGP world champion and motorcycle legend Mick Doohan, is looking to add more silverware to the family trophy cabinet and Norwegian karting talent Hauger has been rapid in pre-season, topping two official tests.

Flying Finn and podium finisher Patrik Pasma is back for 2018; while the case of “like father, like son” goes even further at Arden as Sebastian Priaulx, son of triple World Touring Car Champion and Ford GT driver Andy Priaulx, embarks upon his maiden single-seater season. Priaulx’s record speaks for itself, having most recently been crowned Ginetta Junior vice-champion with 13 podiums, including seven victories.

Another who has a name synonymous with motor racing is that of Hampus Ericsson, younger brother of F1 driver Marcus. The Fortec Motorsports ace had a stellar rookie season which saw him win the Ford F4 Challenge Cup. Johnathan Hoggard contested a handful of meetings last year and has been flying throughout winter testing. Meanwhile Lucca Allen is no stranger to the series after taking 10 Challenge Cup podiums.

JHR Developments aren’t short of experience either with Manuel Sulaimán and Ayrton Simmons returning. The pair have starred on the podium and the latter tasted victory at Brands Hatch in 2017. They should be major players alongside European karting star Josh Skelton.

Jamie Sharp and Sharp Motorsport also return. 2017 was a learning year, but that didn’t stop Sharp from showing flashes of brilliance on the way to many top-10 finishes.

Priaulx isn’t the only Ginetta Junior driver making the step up to British F4 this year. Rookie champion Kiern Jewiss is targeting the title with Double R Racing. If his pre-season testing performances are anything to go by, he’s sure to be in with a shout having topped the first official pre-season test and been on front-running pace ever since.

Paavo Tonteri and Sebastian Alvarez complete Double R’s line-up. Both are from the Infinity Sports Management stable which guided Max Fewtrell to the 2016 title and both have enviable international karting records.

Return of the Rookie
This year sees the return of the Rookie Cup in place of the Challenge Cup. Drivers who have no previous car racing experience – Alvarez, Doohan, Hauger, Skelton and Tonteri – will have even more to fight for in 2018 as they will be eligible for the Rookie Cup, along with the chance to be crowned FIA British Formula 4 Champion.

As was the case in 2015 and 2016 when Enaam Ahmed and Alex Quinn took the respective Rookie titles, entry to the Rookie Cup does not bring with it any limits on testing mileage for drivers and the winner will receive free entry to the 2019 F4 British Championship.

The Ford Super Rookie Award is also up for grabs – the first Rookie Cup entrant to win a race overall will take home £5,000. Meanwhile the Ford Triple Crown Award is open to all drivers competing in the F4 British Championship and will see the first driver to win all three races in a meeting awarded £10,000.

Experience the thrill of driving in British F4
The British F4 Virtual Reality Experience went down a storm in 2017. The great news is that it’s back for 2018, giving fans the chance to experience what it’s like to be a British F4 driver and immerse themselves in the world of motor racing like never before. The British F4 Virtual Reality Experience Zone will be located at the Ford Race Centre in the support paddock throughout the season.

Never miss the action
The F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered Ford EcoBoost will again comprise 30 races across 10 events at the UK’s premier race circuits as the sole single-seater support series for the ever-popular British Touring Car Championship. British F4 will play a starring role in front of hundreds of thousands of trackside spectators and millions more watching live and free-to-air on ITV4, ITV Hub and online at itv.com alongside extensive highlights programmes.

Alex Quinn: British F4 Rookie Champion in profile

28 SEPTEMBER, 2016 – With all eyes on the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford season finale at Brands Hatch this weekend and the six drivers still in contention for the title, one contender arrives with 2016 champion status already to his name. Fortec Motorsports’ Alex Quinn wrapped up the Rookie class in style last time out at Silverstone with his third overall victory of the season. The first of which came in only his fourth ever car race on the back of a fantastic pole position at Donington Park.

Quinn has been nothing short of exceptional in the Rookie class. 2016 has seen the 15-year-old from Camelford, Cornwall put in some virtuoso performances and thoroughly stamp his authority all over the Rookie standings. 16 class wins and a total of 23 class podiums putting him well clear of the chasing rookie pack.

Said the Rookie class champion: “I cannot express my feelings. I’m so happy. I need to say a huge thanks to the Racing Steps Foundation and Fortec because without them I wouldn’t be here, let alone at the front.”

“I’m really happy with the car and my performance. I pushed as hard as I could to get the win at Silverstone and showed that I can race through the field, as well as lead from the front.”

“It’s a relief to finally become Rookie champion. We’ve been dominant in the class for quite a few races. It wasn’t clear-cut when we were going to win it. We had a good chance and it’s good to get it done so we can focus on just winning races now.”

Quinn landed a fully funded drive with Fortec Motorsports thanks to the Racing Steps Foundation after impressing in a three day, 10-driver assessment staged by the not-for-profit Foundation last October. He has not looked back since.

Explained RSF co-ordinator Derek Walters: “Alex’s attitude and feedback, as well as the way he conducts himself has always been impressive. The great thing about Alex is that you can tell him things. He learns and then understands it, be that on the mental or physical side. He’s hungry to learn and we have seen him mature during the course of the season.

“The Foundation was put together way back in 2007 and its philosophy is to get people like Alex to develop into professional drivers. It has proved very successful.

“The F4 British Championship is a good place to be, especially with the MSA involved. We’re very happy. There are a great bunch of people running the series and we love being involved with Ford at the sharp end of racing. It’s a natural place for us to gravitate to as young drivers come out of karting.”

Commented Fortec Motorsports team owner Richard Dutton: “Alex has done a great job this season, especially for someone as young as he is. He’s been seriously impressive. His success has been great for Fortec Motorsports and the Racing Steps Foundation in the F4 British Championship. We’re very good at developing young drivers. It’s what we aim to do and it’s working.”

Quinn has been a shining example of the progression the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford enables drivers to make. From a quiet Cornish racer to a formidable competitor who doesn’t need to be asked twice to go for a gap when he sees it; Quinn’s rapid rate of development has been a highlight in a season blessed with many.

Although mathematically Quinn’s overall title chances are slim, one thing is certain, the on-track exploits of a 15-year-old with a very bright motorsport career ahead of him are sure to be savoured by many this weekend.