Simmons’ title hopes fade while Sulaiman records season-best finish at Silverstone
JHR Developments endured a frustrating weekend in the F4 British Championship at Silverstone as Ayrton Simmons’ hopes of closing ground in the title hunt slipped away, though teammate Manuel Sulaiman took a season-best finish in race three.
Ayrton was unlucky to only qualify seventh for the first race of the weekend as a red flag halted his progress and he had to work hard to finish sixth during the contest. In race two he lost two places defending his lead from Dennis Hauger and while defending from him out of the final corner was slipstreamed by title rival Kiern Jewiss who snuck ahead by a tiny 0.006s to snatch the final podium position. Things didn’t get any better in race three as he slipped down the order after contact with Jewiss and was classified in 13th place.
Manuel was a bright spot for the team however, continuing his upturn in performance in the second half of his campaign with seventh place in races one and two, and an impressive fifth in race three, his best result of the season to date.
For Josh Skelton it was also a weekend to forget as he spun into retirement in race one and fought back from needing a nose change in race two to finish ninth. The youngster was running seventh for much of race three, but a late spin meant he crossed the line 11th.
JHR Developments will aim to bounce back at Brands Hatch in Kent for the final weekend of the 2018 season as rounds 28, 29, and 30 take place on the famous Grand Prix circuit. There is the option of a test day on Wednesday September 19th, before practice on Friday September 28th. Qualifying and race one of the weekend will be held on Saturday, with races two and three on Sunday September 30th; the latter shown live on ITV4 and on ITV Hub online.
Race one: Grid – 7, Race – 6
Race two: Grid – 1, Race – 4
Race three: Grid – 6, Race – 13
Championship: 2 (342 points)
Race one: Grid – 11, Race – 7
Race two: Grid – 7, Race – 7
Race three: Grid – 9, Race – 5
Championship: 9 (91 points)
Race one: Grid – 6, Race – DNF
Race two: Grid – 13, Race - 9
Race three: Grid – 6, Race – 11
Championship: 10 (83 points)
Rookie cup: 4 (327 points)
Steven Hunter, Team Principal
Teams’ cup: 3 (517 points)
"Unfortunately, qualifying was cut short by an incident which meant we didn’t get our second run on new tyres. Our plan was to do a long first run and a short second run and it was going really well. At the time we came in we were first and second, with Josh in P1 and Ayrton behind. Others were able to get their runs in and just as our guys were about to set their times the red flag came out and that was it. It’s a big shame as we were looking good and had we been able to do our times it would have been a very different story.
“In race one Josh was hit out but Manuel had a great drive. Ayrton was P6 in a processional race, so it was actually quite dull. In race two Ayrton was on pole on the reverse grid but didn’t get a good start and dropped to fourth. Manuel started seventh and had a good drive and Josh did well to come through the field having started stone cold last.
“We were looking really good in race three with Manuel following Ayrton through up the inside of Becketts on the first lap. We were running third and fourth, but Ayrton had contact on lap four and sustained suspension damage which resulted in retirement. Josh was running in sixth place but had contact with another car which sent him tumbling down the order which, again was a shame as he was driving well. Manuel started ninth and had an absolutely fantastic drive to get up to fifth place. It was a stellar drive throughout the race.
“Overall, it was a disappointing weekend for Ayrton and Josh. Manuel had a couple of great drives and showed the talent we know he has. We are all looking forward to Brands Hatch, we’ll be fired up for a good result or two to end the season.”