BIRMINGHAM, U.K. - Sebastian Priaulx secured his second win of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost campaign with victory in the opening race of the season finale at Brands Hatch.
Priaulx led from start-to-finish to repeat his success in the season opener on the shorter Indy circuit, but the main headline was created further down the order as Kiern Jewiss secured the points he needed to take an unassailable lead in the fight for the title.
Double R racer Jewiss had gone into the weekend with a lead of 62 points over main rival Ayrton Simmons in the standings, and qualified ahead of the JHR driver to put himself in the ideal position for the opening race.
Whilst Simmons was able to jump ahead of Jewiss at the start to take fifth place, the championship leader was able to shadow him throughout and sixth spot was good enough to see him provisionally crowned champion with two races remaining.
“We can chill out now and relax,” Jewiss said. “I’m sure the boys will be celebrating with a drink and they deserve it because they’ve done a fantastic job this season and I can’t thank them enough for everything that have done.
“It’s been a tough year, particularly in the second half of the season, but I’m delighted to wrap up the title with a few races still to go. At the start of the year, I picked up quite a few wins which helped me get into the lead and from there on, it was about not doing anything stupid and being consistent.
“This means the world to me and hopefully I can now follow in the footsteps of some of the drivers who have won this series and gone on to do great things in their careers.”
Whilst much of the focus was on the championship contenders, Priaulx was in imperious form at the head of the field having taken his maiden pole earlier in the day.
Keeping his lead when the lights went out, Priaulx was able to edge away from fellow front-row starter Johnathan Hoggard (Fortec) to secure his second victory of the campaign – setting a new lap record in the process.
“It’s been a good day for me,” he said. “The pole position was crucial but it was one of the those days where I relaxed and it all came together. Being out front was key as it is easier to lead the way in clear air and I’m delighted to get a win.
“Brands GP is a circuit I love and from P2 on the grid for the final race of the weekend tomorrow, it would be good if we could repeat this but it’ll come down to the start and whether we can get ahead.”
Behind Priaulx, Hoggard took second spot for his eighth podium finish of the campaign, although amazingly it was the first time he has secured a top three finish without taking to the top step. Paavo Tonteri (Double R) secured top Rookie Honours and held off fellow Finn Patrik Pasma (Arden) to take the final place on the podium.
Behind the two contenders for the overall title came the two Red Bull Junior racers embroiled in their private battle for the Rookie Cup, with Dennis Hauger taking seventh overall and second in class ahead of team-mate Jack Doohan.
It means Doohan’s advantage in the Rookie Cup has now been cut to twelve points with two races to run, with Hauger extending his advantage in the fight for third overall.
“It’s hard to overtake round here and I did what I could to get further up and try to take more points off Jack but it’s hard to follow in the quick corners,” Hauger said. “I’ll keep pushing tomorrow and we have to work hard because Hoggard is gaining on us in the overall standings as well. We need to be smart and try to progress through the field.”
“It’s been a difficult day,” Doohan added. “We didn’t have the pace in qualifying and I struggled with a lack of grip in the race. Dennis has done a good job but we have work to do tonight to see what we can do to improve things ahead of the two races tomorrow.”
Lucca Allen (Fortec) and Sebastian Alvarez (Double R) rounded out the points scorers ahead of Josh Skelton (JHR), with Jamie Sharp (Sharp Motorsport) the final classified finisher, albeit three laps down after multiple trips to the pits.
Manuel Sulaiman (JHR) was the only driver not to finish.
Race two will be held at 10:05 on Sunday morning, with race three at the slightly later time of 16:00 after revisions were made to the race day schedule.