Supplied by team’s PR.
• British F4 success for first year racer Paavo Tonteri in round 17.
• Finnish ace seals maiden outright win and sixth Rookie victory.
• Kiern Jewiss maintains series lead despite luckless weekend.
• Season-best P6 for Sebastian Alvarez in Snetterton opener.
30 JULY, 2018 – Paavo Tonteri raced to a controlled, and long-awaited, maiden F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost race victory at Snetterton 300 Circuit over the weekend, 28th/29th July, to add yet another name to Double R Racing’s extensive list of single-seater race winners.
Finnish 18-year-old Tonteri, who is in his first season of car racing after a stellar karting career, converted a front-row start in round 17 at the Norfolk track on Saturday afternoon into a faultless outright win and his sixth victory of the year in the Rookie Cup class.
Team-mate Kiern Jewiss, who held a comfortable championship lead of 57 points going into the weekend, encountered a great deal of frustration with contact in round 16 and a damaged front wing in round 18 resulting in uncharacteristic 12th place finishes. Fourth in round 17, though, helped limit the damage in the title battle – his lead now reduced to 29 points.
Mexican youngster Sebastian Alvarez continued his progression with a season-best top six result in the first of the weekend’s three races on Saturday. Finishing in the top 10 again in round 17 with ninth place, he just missed the points in round 18 on Sunday with 11th position.
“It’s been a fantastic weekend for Paavo, he really deserves his first overall win – it was a great drive and a very impressive performance”, said Double R’s Anthony Hieatt, “Again, Sebastian produced some strong pace and he continues to chip away. It’s good to see him take his first top six finish.
“Obviously it wasn’t a great weekend in terms of results for Kiern, the pace was there but a couple of incidents made it hard work. Even though we dropped a few points to the competition, he’s still leading the championship and that’s the important thing going into the next round at Rockingham.”
Tonteri makes deserved British F4 breakthrough
Jewiss headed into the weekend in typically potent form, having been quickest at the Norfolk track during both days of a two-day official test a couple of weeks prior. Indeed, in the usual pre-event test on Friday, 27th July, he again topped the times in session one, with an advantage of 0.3 seconds over his closest rivals, although Tonteri was the fastest Double R driver in session two with fourth.
In qualifying on Saturday, though, Jewiss had to settle for fourth – a mere 0.002 seconds shy of third on the race one grid – while Tonteri was seventh and Alvarez was 10th quickest. Due to a penalty for pole qualifier Patrick Pasma, though, Jewiss was elevated into third, Tonteri sixth and Alvarez ninth.
When the lights went out for the first of Saturday’s two races, Jewiss maintained third while Tonteri leapt into the top four as the cars headed to the infield and Alvarez also progressed, climbing into the top eight. On lap two, Jewiss smartly seized second and set about pressuring the race leader.
The next time around, though, Jewiss was tipped into a spin after a tangle with Dennis Hauger and although able to eventually recover he finished down in 12th position. Confirming his race winning potential, the Double R ace did post the fastest lap of the race during his recovery drive.
Tonteri profited from the lap three incident to slice past his team-mate and Hauger into second place, but his podium hopes were dashed on lap five when a moment dropped the Finn down to eighth. He did ultimately recover into the top five, though, third in the Rookie Cup.
Alvarez, enjoying a competitive run, climbed into seventh on lap four and then broke into the top six after Tonteri’s slip down the order. Following a late shake-up, when two rivals dropped back, Alvarez was leap-frogged by the recovering Tonteri and so the Mexican took the flag in sixth – fourth Rookie.
Round 17 started with Alvarez on pole position, the grid determined from the finishing order of race one but with the top six reversed, and Tonteri made it an all Double R front-row. Jewiss, of course, had to line-up 12th on the grid and with plenty to do.
Tonteri challenged Alvarez off the line and into Riches the Finn dramatically swept past around the outside to grab a lead he would never relinquish. In control by almost two seconds at the end of the opening tour, Tonteri produced a superb performance to claim his first outright win in British F4.
Although his lead was reduced to 1.2 seconds by the end of the fifth tour, Tonteri responded and into the 11th and final lap he had opened the gap to 1.5 seconds. Going on to wrap-up a superb victory, the result also marked his sixth Rookie Cup win of 2018.
“It took long enough!”, said a jovial Tonteri immediately after round 17, “It feels really good to finally win, I feel it’s been coming for a long time. We were really quick in the test before, and yesterday [Friday] we were fast too.”
Alvarez was ultimately shuffled back to seventh position on lap one and although slipping outside the top 10 on the very next tour, he battled back to finish in ninth position overall and fourth in the Rookie class – right on the tail of the two cars ahead on the drag to the line.
Unsurprisingly, Jewiss managed to undo a lot of the damage of starting down on the sixth row of the grid by carving his way through into a top four finish. Leaping into ninth on lap one, he followed championship rival Hauger as the pair both progressed through the order and on the fifth tour the Double R racer made his move to get ahead of the Norwegian – moving into the top six at that point.
Elevated into fifth the next time around, Jewiss then grabbed fourth with a great move into Riches at the start of lap seven. With over seven seconds to make up to the podium runners during the final few laps, though, there just wasn’t enough time to close the gap but fourth marked a great result.
Round 18 on Sunday began with Jewiss second on the grid but, in-keeping with his frustrating weekend, he sustained front wing damage early on and after gradually slipping further down the order he pitted for a new nose cone on lap seven. Eventually, Jewiss came home in 12th place.
From seventh on the grid, Tonteri climbed into the top five on lap one and then moved up into fourth place on the sixth tour. Edged back to fifth soon after, the Finn regained fourth on lap nine and after pressuring Johnathan Hoggard for third Tonteri made the breakthrough on the last lap to seal his second outright podium of the weekend, and third in the Rookie class, as well as fastest lap.
Alvarez began the third race of the weekend from ninth position and although bundled down to 13th place on lap one, he mounted a spirited recovery to work his way into the top 10 by lap three. Edged back down to 13th position by the fifth tour, Alvarez climbed back into 11th place – fourth Rookie.
Rockingham International Super Sportscar Circuit in Northamptonshire will host the next instalment of British F4 action just two weeks from now on 11th/12th August.