Simmons stays in championship hunt as JHR Developments bounces back at Oulton
JHR Developments made a winning visit to Oulton Park in Cheshire for rounds 10, 11, 12 of the 2018 F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost, as Ayrton Simmons kept firmly in the title hunt with victory in race two.
The Epping-based driver put in a strong lights-to-flag performance for his third win of the season, fending off the attention of Jack Doohan throughout the 20-minute contest, adding to two top-eight finishes to sit second in the standings.
Rookie Josh Skelton continued his development with another top-ten finish in race three, bouncing back after losing time in the first corner. In his first season of single-seater racing, the Cumbrian is an impressive fourth in the Rookie Championship standings.
Mexican Manuel Sulaiman had a Friday to forget with car problems curtailing track time, but he refused to let that slow him down, going one better each time out to score points in every race across the weekend.
The championship fight continues at Croft on June 23/24 with fans able to watch live coverage on Sunday on ITV4 and ITV Hub online.
G1 – 8, R1 – 6
G2 – 1, R2 – 1
G3 – 9, R3 – 8
Championship: 2 (190 points)
“It’s nice to be back on top. I was under a lot of pressure from Doohan and Jewiss and was struggling with the rear of the car, but I managed to bring it home. It’s so hot today so you’re always mindful of looking after the car when you can and that was an additional factor in the race. We’ve made steps forward with the car in terms of pace since qualifying. The points are still important so I’m happy to win but we’ve got to develop the car and me as a driver to catch up with some of the other teams.”
G1 – 12, R1 – 11
G2 – 11, R2 – 11
G3 – 12, R3 – 9
Championship: 10 (39 points)
Rookie Championship: 4 (167 points)
“Practice started well – I haven’t driven around the track much, so I was still learning it. We dropped down a bit in FP1 on old tyres, but we were quick in FP2 on new tyres. In qualifying we struggled with the car set-up and I didn’t do as good a job in my driving. It was hard to overtake in the races, but we worked well together as a team and found a set-up for the final race but unfortunately, we got caught up in an incident at the first corner which dropped us back, but the overall speed was good. There’s lots of positives for Croft as we’ve improved through the weekend.”
G1 – 10, R1 – 9
G2 – 9, R2 – 8
G3 – 10, R3 – 7
Championship: 11 (29 points)
“Friday, we didn’t do many laps, only around five in FP1 and FP2 so we were in a difficult position for qualifying after problems with the car. It wasn’t too bad with P9 and P10 in qualifying and in the race, it is difficult to overtake but we made a few places. I’m looking forward to Croft to make up for this weekend.”
Steven Hunter, Team Principal
“It’s been a tough weekend and having come from two test days at Croft and being the quickest I think we were expecting to arrive here at the top of the leader board. Unfortunately, it’s not been that way so we’ve had to work hard, but we’ve had a win which is good and on the whole we're looking forward to the next weekend.
“Manuel lost the whole of Friday due to technical issues to his car, Ayrton had a bad qualifying, and Josh has improved all weekend – he’s the least experienced driver of the three but keeps getting in the top ten. We bagged some points, we're no longer leading the championship, but looking at the pace from the test at Croft I think it’s only a matter of time before that’s back in our hands.”