The F4 British Championship – certified by FIA powered by Ford headed to Donington Park for the second round of the 2018 Championship.
Qualifying began under wet conditions, with numerous driver’s having to work overtime to find grip in the tricky conditions. Arden Motorsport’s quartet of drivers; Patrik Pasma, Dennis Hauger, Sebastien Priaulx and Jack Doohan, qualified their cars all inside the top 6, in positions 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th respectively.
Their second fastest laps, which set the grid for race three, saw Pasma take Pole Position, Hauger would start from 3rd, Priaulx 4th and Doohan in 5th position on the grid – giving the team high hopes for all the races ahead.
The opening race took place under drying conditions, with the track still damp in patches for a tricky opening race. Priaulx vaulted up to 2nd position at the start of the race, with Pasma and Hauger just behind in 3rd and 4th position respectively, with Doohan holding position in 6th. Priaulx was in pursuit of race leader Johnathan Hoggard, beginning to hold his rival in his sights around the 1.8s mark, whilst moving ahead of his teammates behind. Red Bull Junior Doohan moved himself up to 5th position to slot in behind his fellow Red Bull compatriot Hauger.
The safety car was deployed on lap 8, bunching the field up after Kiern Jewiss retired from the race. On the restart, Pasma dropped back to 5th - promoting Hauger and Doohan into the battle for the podium. The two Red Bull Junior Team drivers duelled for position, the pair swarming all over each other and swapping positions repeatedly in the closing stages. Doohan ultimately got the better of Hauger on the penultimate lap and fended him off to take the spoils. Pasma had fell back to 7th position after his battles from the safety car restart, before having to retire from the race with a handful of laps to go. Priaulx shadowed Hoggard for the rest of the race, finishing just 1 second behind the race winner at the flag. Doohan crossed the line in 3rd, just ahead of Hauger – with these two taking a 1-2 in the Rookie Podium positions as well.
Hauger made a brilliant start to race two, swooping around the outside of Hampus Ericsson to take the lead after turn 1 – where he immediately began to establish himself a gap. Doohan and Priaulx were in the hunt for a podium, as the hard charging Jewiss managed to cut his way through the pack and move up into 2nd position. Hauger was controlling the race out front, until he exceeded track limits too many times, meaning he had a 5-second time penalty and had to pull out a gap on his rivals to maintain the winning position. By this time, Pasma had moved himself to 8th position on track in the fierce battle for points, with Doohan and Priaulx shadowing each other in 4th and 5th places.
At the chequered flag, Hauger was unable to win by more than 5-seconds, meaning he was classified 3rd position, just 0.4s ahead of Doohan. Priaulx finished in 6th position after he was just pipped by Hoggard on the final lap. Pasma held onto his 8th position at the finish.
Pasma started from pole position in race three, however front row rival Hoggard made the better start – pulling ahead and into the lead, with Pasma slotting in behind. Heading down the ‘Craner Curves’, drama ensued as four drivers – one being Doohan, took to the grass but managed to keep going despite the hairy moment.
The safety car was then deployed due to three rival cars getting beached in the gravel at the ‘Roberts Chicane.’
Pasma defended hard at the safety car restart from teammate Hauger, Priaulx and Double R’s Jewiss. As Hauger went for a move on Pasma, Priaulx nearly pounced on the pair of them, before Jewiss sneaked through and into 4th position. The pressure was building on Pasma, with Hauger all over the back of him and Jewiss likewise just behind. Jewiss went for a late move into the chicane at the end of the lap, forcing Hauger onto the gravel and into a spin going onto the start/finish straight – demoting him to 10th.
This elevated Doohan and Priaulx up to 4th and 5th respectively, as Pasma stuck to his aggressive defence of 2nd position – forcing Jewiss to go to the edge of the track on a few occasions, however he could not find a way past.
Pasma held onto take 2nd position, with Doohan in 4th – once again taking victory in the Rookie Class, as he finished just ahead of teammate Priaulx, while Hauger battled back to snatch a championship point in 10th position.
Leaving Donington Park, Priaulx is the highest placed Arden Motorsport driver in the Championship Standings, 3rd overall on 85 points. Doohan sits 5th overall and leads the Rookie Championship, just 11 points ahead of Hauger in 6thoverall, who is again 11 points ahead of Pasma in 7th overall in the title battle.
The next round of the championship heads to the high speed Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire, for Races 7-9 of the 2018 British F4 Championship on the 19-20 May.