JHR Developments’ 2019 season draws to a close at Brands Hatch
JHR Developments closed out its 2019 season at a wet and windy Brands Hatch for the final three races of the F4 British Championship last weekend (October 11-13).
It was almost a finale to remember for Carter Williams, as he bounced back from an engine failure which caused him to miss a practice session and hampered his chances in qualifying.
The only driver to gamble on slick tyres for race three, he received some last-minute advice from former JHR driver and British Touring Car Championship star Tom Ingram before setting off. After a steady start, he started to set rapid lap times and quickly caught the field.
Putting some excellent moves on rival drivers, he climbed to fourth, but he was pushed wide at the fast Hawthorn corner and spun on the wet grass, ultimately finishing a disappointing 12th.
After setting a new series record for consecutive podium finishes, with his ninth top-three finish last time out, Josh Skelton also enjoyed a good finish in fourth place in the same contest, after putting good moves on some of his title rivals.
Safety Cars were abundant in race one on Saturday, which made it difficult for Carter and Josh to make their way up the field, though they eventually got past Tommy Foster to finish sixth and seventh.
Unfortunately, Carter would normally have claimed the reverse grid pole for race two, but without enough classified finishers that honour went to the fifth-placed driver instead. A difficult start dropped him to ninth, but Josh climbed to sixth before slipping back down the order after a spin, finishing tenth, two places behind his team-mate.
Despite some disappointing results over the last two weekends of the season, Josh finished an excellent fourth in the Drivers’ Championship with two wins and 14 podiums. Carter finished seventh, after taking three wins and six podiums.
Sadly, Rookie Alex Walker was unable to compete with the team for the final three races of the year, but he took five class podiums in just 12 races, despite being his first competition out of karting.
After a strong season of competition, JHR Developments will make announcements on its exciting plans for the 2020 season in due course.
Grid 1 – 7, Race – 7
Grid 2 – 7, Race – 10
Grid 3 – 7, Race – 4
Championship: 4 (326.5 points)
“Qualifying was damp and the track was greasy and slippy. I had a spin into the gravel but luckily got it back out again. After that it took a bit of time to get the tyres clean and I struggled, getting P7, but I couldn’t find the last bit of time to move us up further.
“At the start of race one I didn’t get away well and then it was a boring race behind the Safety Car for the most part. I managed to get a place on the last lap to get back to seventh though. I got a good start for race two but lap by lap I lost ground, had a little spin, and that was the race really.
“It was hard to see for the final race on Sunday, and we were struggling with the car in the wet conditions; I couldn’t get the car to do what I wanted. I made up some positions on the first lap. Louis [Foster] went off in front of me which put me up to fifth and I put a good move on Seb [Alvarez] early in the race as well.
“The Safety Car bunched us all up and the tyres went off at that point I think but it was a good race overall and I am happy to end the season with a good result. The year could have been better in places, but I am happy with my progress as a driver throughout the season and hopefully I can carry that to whatever comes next.”
Grid 1 – 9, Race – 6
Grid 2 – 6, Race – 8
Grid 3 – Pitlane, Race – 12
Championship: 7 (230 points)
“It’s been a learning weekend. We were on the back foot as we hadn’t tested here so we showed up blind and we missed FP2 and were behind for qualifying, so ninth wasn’t ideal but better than it could have been.
“We kept improving in race one and made it up to sixth, but we were caught out with the Safety Cars and didn’t have enough time, just four or five laps of actual racing, so it was disappointing. In race two we just didn’t have the pace.
“We made the call – the right call – for slicks before race three on Sunday, but I think I was a bit too timid in the opening laps. It was hard to see where the dry lines were, and I’d go in deep and realise it wasn’t dry.
“I figured out how much speed I could carry, though I don’t know if it would have been better or worse without the Safety Car. Sadly, I have lost respect for some drivers and some teams as well.
“It’s a great group of guys at JHR and it has been a great year, especially with how much funding we have. We are in a championship where cash will do a lot for you, so with what we have I think we accomplished a lot.”