Simmons on top as JHR stays firmly in F4 British Championship hunt
JHR Developments enjoyed another successful weekend in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost as championship contender Ayrton Simmons took his fourth victory of the season in race two, while both Josh Skelton and Manuel Sulaiman showed good pace in difficult conditions.
Starting from pole position in the rain on Sunday morning, Ayrton settled into a rhythm and despite having his advantage pegged back by a Safety Car period, pulled out a five-second advantage by the end of the contest. He carried this form over into the final race of the weekend and made up several positions to close in on title rival Kiern Jewiss in third place. Despite contact between the pair as Ayrton tried to pass, he kept a cool head and made the move stick a lap later, finishing the weekend just 31 points back in the championship standings, with up to 150 points still on offer.
For Josh and Manuel, it would be a frustrating weekend despite strong pace. Small errors cost Josh, though in both races one and three he showed good speed despite having little experience racing single-seaters in the wet. Manuel continued his upturn in form but was left frustrated in race three after twice going off road through no fault of his own, which turned a probable top-five finish into a disappointing tenth place.
JHR Developments will head to Silverstone in Northamptonshire for the penultimate weekend of the 2018 season as rounds 25, 26, and 27 take place on the 1.6-mile National Circuit. There is the option of a test day on Monday September 3rd, before practice on Friday September 14th. Qualifying and race one of the weekend will be held on Saturday, with races two and three on Sunday September 16th, the latter being shown live on ITV4 and ITV Hub online..
Race one: Grid – 6, Race – 6
Race two: Grid – 1, Race – 1
Race three: Grid – 7, Race – 3
Championship: 2 (322 points)
“They’ve resurfaced the circuit, so it took us a few laps to get used to. By FP3 I knew where I was. We struggled a bit on Friday but knew where to improve the car and made steps forward. In qualifying we were three tenths off in the end, but the guys did an amazing job to gather a lot of information which helped us in the race. The car felt more positive in race one and it was so good to drive, it helped me get reverse grid pole for race two.
“For race two I was comfortable and there was no need to push because I was pulling a gap each race. I’m grateful to be back up there again and it is positive for the team and the hard work we’ve been putting in is paying off. Race three was pretty eventful, starting P7, but it was good to get through the field to get third place ahead of Kiern. I couldn’t see much, and it was cold. I’ve raced in the wet before but that was a new level – I couldn’t see, not even the rain lights, so you had to guess where to brake and turn in. The car was mega in those conditions and I think you could see that in our performance.”
Race one: Grid – 9, Race – 10
Race two: Grid – 10, Race - DNF
Race three: Grid – 10, Race – 8
Championship: 9 (81 points)
Rookie cup: 4 (302 points)
“I learned the track pretty quickly and we improved by working as a team and trying things out on the car setup-wise that we could go forward with. We didn’t have new tyres in practice as it’s not in our budget, so we were happy with the performance. I haven’t driven in this car in the wet much, but I was quickest for most of FP2. We didn’t get the best out of the tyre in qualifying so were looking forward to the race.
“I made a good start, but I dipped a wheel in the gravel in race one and lost some momentum, so I fell to the back. I made my way back to tenth but there was too much of a gap to catch the others. It was difficult to see in race two and on the second lap I caught a bit of the gravel out of the chicane and got stuck on the grass and went off into the wall. I had a bad start in race three which put me on the back foot, but I made my way through to eighth. It was hard to see where I was going but at least I brought it home and kept it on the track. I’m happy to get the points but I’d like to be further up the field.”
Race one: Grid – 7, Race – 9
Race two: Grid – 9, Race – 6
Race three: Grid – 9, Race – 10
Championship: 10 (69 points)
“We were quite quick on Friday and tried some things for qualifying which were positive and I got a good lap in. In race one I started well and maintained my position, but my mirrors were moving around so I was struggling a bit. It was wet for race two. Knockhill is a difficult track but it is quite grippy so there isn’t a big change from dry to wet so it wasn’t too hard to switch over and the pace was pretty strong, so I finished P6.
“Race three was disappointing. I gained a place at the start but there was an incident into turn one and I lost the place as I went on the grass. We were fourth or fifth quickest and were catching the cars in front. After the restart someone tapped me into a spin, I rejoined in last, and could only regain two positions. We could have been in the top-five. We knew we were fast, so we’ll move on to the next one.”
Steven Hunter, Team Principal
Teams cup: 3 (481 points)
“We got a good setup on all three cars. It was a good weekend for Ayrton and he proved he is quick in the wet. It was unlucky for Manuel with the contact in the last race which put him down the order after he showed he had good pace. Josh had steady races and got himself into the top ten which continues his development, particularly racing in the wet. We’re happy with the performances and we can build on it for Silverstone in a few weeks time.”