The opening round of the 2018 F4 British Championship – certified by FIA powered by Ford started traditionally at the Brands Hatch circuit in Kent, racing on the short and challenging ‘Indy’ circuit.
Qualifying was incredibly tight, with all 14 runners lap times within 1 second of the pole position time set by JHR’s Ayrton Simmons.
Red Bull Junior Hauger was the highest place Arden driver with 3rd on the grid. Teammates Priaulx, Doohan and Pasma qualified in 5th, 7th and 8th position respectively.
For race three, the grid is dictated by the driver’s second fastest laps in qualifying. Once again Hauger was the lead Arden driver, who would start from 2nd on the grid. Priaulx, Pasma and Doohan would start from 6th, 8th and 10th.
Priaulx made a great start to vault himself into 4th position going into Paddock Hill bend, just behind teammate Hauger. With such a short and fast lap, overtaking is notoriously difficult around the ‘Indy’ Circuit, so it was all about applying as much pressure as possible to rival infront and attempting to pounce on any mistakes.
The race at the front remained pretty stagnant, as Hauger held on to take 3rd position on his F4 racing debut – as well as taking the victory in the Rookie Class, just ahead of teammate Priaulx in 4th position.
Pasma managed to move up a place at the start and into 7th place. Pasma led the group of cars challenging for the mid-points and completed a solid race with no mistakes. Doohan lost ground at the start, but managed to hold onto 9th position and took championship points on his British F4 debut, as well as 3rd on the Rookie Class podium.
The second race saw Pasma start on the front row, alongside Johnathan Hoggard due to the partially reversed grid format for race two.
Incredibly, both Pasma and Hoggard made jump starts – meaning both earned 10-second time penalties early on. Priaulx would become the main beneficiary of this, as he moved up to 3rd place at the start of the race.
Priaulx had to resist plenty of pressure from race one winner Simmons throughout the race. The Guernsey born racer however held on to take his maiden British F4 victory and Arden Motorsport’s first of the season in the championship.
Red Bull Junior Doohan made it a double podium for Arden after a great drive from 9th on the grid to come home in 3rd position – holding off a charging Kiern Jewiss. The Aussie took the Rookie Class victory in the process.
Pasma finished 2nd on the road but was dropped to 6th position in the final classifications after serving his time penalty, just ahead of Hauger who finished in 7th.
The final race took place on a damp track on Sunday morning, with Hauger starting from the front row in 2nd position.
Hauger made a good getaway to challenge pole sitter Simmons into turn one, however it was Jewiss who got the best run through Paddock Hill bend to seize the lead, dropping Hauger to 3rd.
Next lap around, Jewiss made a mistake which allowed Hauger back up to 2nd. Doohan and Pasma were also caught out by the tricky conditions, running wide and dropping to the back of the pack – before beginning a recovery drive through the field.
The safety car was deployed due to a remarkable incident which saw two cars completely interlock together.
On the restart, Hauger launched an attack on leader Simmons – however he went wide onto the damp track and through the gravel on the exit of Paddock Hill Bend, demoting him to the tail end of the top ten, taking him out of victory contention.
Priaulx completed a consistent opening weekend of the championship by moving himself up to 4th position following Hauger’s trip through the gravel, which he held to the flag.
Doohan recovered to finish a solid 7th at the chequered flag, just ahead of teammates Pasma and Hauger – all three covered by 1.4s at the end of the race.
After the opening weekend of the championship, Priaulx is the lead Arden driver in the standings – currently 2nd overall on 49 points. Haugher and Doohan are tied on points, both in the overall championship and Rookie Championship – as they sit 5th overall and joint 1st in the Rookie Championship Standings. Pasma rounds out the Arden line-up and is 7th overall in the standings on 18 points.
The next round of the championship will take place at Donington Park, on the 28-29 April for Rounds 4-6 of the 2018 F4 British Championship.