The F4 British Championship – certified by FIA powered by Ford headed to the high speed Thruxton Circuit in Hamphire, for Round 3 and Races 7-9 of the 2018 Season.
Qualifying saw Red Bull Junior Dennis Hauger come to the fore, setting the fastest time of the session to seal Pole Position with a 1:13.183s lap time – taking pole by a quarter of a second and smashing the lap record in the process! His second fastest time was also good enough for Pole Position in Race 3.
Jack Doohan would start Race One and Race Three from 2nd, Patrik Pasma would start from 8th in both races, with Sebastien Priaulx starting from 11th in the two races as well.
It was Fortec Motorsport’s Johnathan Hoggard who swooped through into the lead at the start, with Hauger just behind and pressuring to get the lead of the race back. The Red Bull Junior soon retook the lead, with Kiern Jewiss in hot pursuit. The lead swapped around twice on lap 4 and lap 8 – with Hauger infront going into the closing stages of the race.
Jewiss got a run on Hauger into the final chicane on the last lap, with the Arden driver being squeezed by Jewiss causing a collision – putting the Norwegian driver into the tyre barrier and out of a race he led for so long.
Fellow Red Bull Junior Doohan had a difficult start which saw him pushed down as far as 10th from his 3rd on the grid starting position. He however battled back brilliantly to finish just off the podium in 4th position – taking fastest lap in the process.
Teammate Pasma finished just behind in 5th position – claiming the reverse grid pole position for Race 2, with Priaulx enduring a difficult race – where he was hit by Sebastian Alvarez’s Double R car, which knocked him out of contention, finishing the race in 10th.
Pasma and Doohan both made great starts in the run down to Turn 1, with JHR’s Ayrton Simmons making a move on Doohan around the outside of Turn 3. Doohan battled back immediately though and latched onto the back of Pasma for the lead just before a Safety Car was deployed for an incident at the start.
Pasma led from the restart from Doohan, teammates Priaulx and Hauger had moved up to 7th and 9th respectively. Doohan passed Pasma for the lead at Turn 5 with a bold move on the flat-out corner.
Priaulx was battling with Alvarez, which allowed Hauger through and into 7th, before once again there was contact from behind Alvarez – spinning Priaulx around and to the back of the field.
The next lap around, Simmons was pressuring Pasma into the final chicane, where he went for a bold move around the outside. Pasma appeared not to see him, as he turned into the left hander – getting clipped by Simmon’s front right wheel and pitched into the barrier and out of 2nd place.
Another Safety Car was deployed with 10 minutes to go to recover Pasma’s stricken car. On the restart, Priaulx immediately moved up a place to get back into the points paying positions, whilst Hauger battled with Hampus Ericsson, getting forced wide in the process and dropped to 8th position.
Ericsson continued to defend from a six-car train, before spinning at the chicane to promote Hauger and Priaulx further up the order.
Doohan led from Jewiss by two seconds out from before going into the final lap – looking set for his first win of the campaign, until unbelievably he began to slow! An exhaust had broken and required him to crawl back to the pits – finishing 9th at the end of a race that he had dominated.
Hauger crossed the line in 6th, just ahead of Priaulx in a dramatic second British F4 race of the weekend.
Hauger started from Pole Position and led from teammate Doohan into Turn 1, with the two Red Bull Juniors battling hard to be the first Rookie Driver to win a race outright so far this season.
Hauger was defending hard, with the two almost making contact at the chicane, as Doohan looked everywhere for a way past.
Doohan eventually got the better of Hauger, switching back under his teammate on Lap 5 to assume the lead. From there, Doohan was able to pull a sizeable advantage as the battle for 2nd position raged on throughout the race.
Hauger, Simmons and Jewiss all battled relentlessly throughout the race – with some excellent overtaking moves on show, notably one from Hauger around the outside of Simmons into the final chicane on Lap 8. In the end, Hauger finished 3rd, just behind Simmons after an enthralling battle and just a few tenths of a second ahead of teammate Pasma – who finished in 4th position.
Priaulx made a strong recovery drive, moving from 11th on the grid and up to 6th position – just on the tail for the podium battle in what was another hugely entertaining race – a strong final race for Arden at a weekend where they never seemed to get the rub of the green in the races.
After Thruxton, Doohan is the highest placed Arden driver in the standings in 3rd position – he also leads the Rookie Championship. Priaulx is just a single point behind Doohan in 4th position, Hauger is 6th in the points and Pasma sits 8th overall in the championship.
Oulton Park will host Round 4, Races 10-12 on the 9-10 June, for the next round of the 2018 F4 British Championship.