Double podium success at Snetterton keeps JHR Developments in title hunt
JHR Developments opened the second half of the F4 British Championship Certified by FIA – powered by Ford with two podium finishes for Ayrton Simmons. The strong performance by Simmons means he closed the gap to leader Kiern Jewiss by 28 points over the weekend.
Title hopeful Simmons looked set to take the victory from pole position in race one before being delayed when another competitor threw up dust when running wide, which allowed Dennis Hauger and Sebastian Priaulx through. He ran well in race two but with the top three closely matched for pace was unable to make further progress. On Sunday he was well in the hunt for a third podium in damp conditions but was squeezed off-line, losing time with dirty tyres.
Rookie Josh Skelton continued an impressive first year out of karting with strong performances although damage caused him to fall back in both of Saturday’s races when running in the top-five and he went off track on Sunday in the difficult damp conditions. It was a disappointing finish to the weekend for the youngster who has clearly demonstrated his one lap speed but just needs a bit of luck to bring it all together into a strong result.
It was a similar tale for Mexican Manuel Sulaiman who fell back after contact in race one and suffered damage in race two. His weekend was compounded with a time penalty for starting out of position on Sunday which dropped him to ninth in the order at the end of the race.
JHR Developments' next races at Rockingham on August 11/12, with one race on Saturday and two on Sunday, the latter being shown live on ITV4 and online via ITV Hub.
Race one: Grid 1, Race 3
Race two: Grid 4, Race 3
Race three: Grid 3, Race 5
Championship: 2 (250 points)
“The racing side of things has gone well. I managed to get pole and finished third twice and we didn’t think we would do so well after a tough Friday. We didn’t know whereabouts we would be, but it was a great comeback. Race three was challenging. I enjoy driving in the rain. It was the same for everyone though. It’s another great haul of points for the championship.
“We started the first half of the season well. We’ve tailed off a bit, but the team have been working so hard during the summer break trying to improve the car and they haven’t had any time off. That hard work is paying off now.”
Race one: Grid 10, Race 9
Race two: Grid 8, Race 7
Race three: Grid 10, Race 13
Championship: 9 (63 points)
Rookie cup: 4 (229 points)
“We struggled in the test with the car setup and had an issue with the engine, so we had a lot to work on in the weekend. We had a big improvement on Friday and carried that good setup into qualifying.
“I climbed up to fifth in race one but dropped back with damage trying to avoid an incident. I got up to fifth again in race two but also picked up front wing damage again. I hadn’t driven much in the wet but it’s exciting as you have to work to find the grip, but again it wasn’t the race we wanted.”
Race one: Grid – 8, Race – 11
Race two: Grid – 10, Race – 12
Race three: Grid – 11, Race – 9
Championship: 11 (47 points)
“Testing went well. We had good pace and it was close into the weekend. I struggled in qualifying, but we knew we had the pace. I was up to sixth in race one and was pushing for fifth, but someone hit me from behind and I spun which destroyed our race. It was a big opportunity missed especially as I had new tyres.
“At the first corner of race two I avoided an accident and was running in the top ten. I was trying to pass but the driver made an aggressive move to defend and hit my front wing. We had the pace again, so it was frustrating. For race three we had a penalty which dropped us back, so it wasn’t a great finish in the end, but we have the speed, so I hope we can have a better weekend at Rockingham in a few weeks’ time.”