Sebastian Priaulx is determined to end his maiden F4 British Championship on a high at Brands Hatch in two weeks’ time after a difficult outing in the penultimate meeting of the 2018 campaign at Silverstone this past weekend (15/16 September)
The 1st Central Insurance driver showed front-running pace throughout Rounds 25, 26 and 27 at the home of British Motor Racing, however contact on the opening lap in both the first and third races blunted his challenge for leading results and left him with a best result of eighth.
With podium finishes in each of the last three meetings contested, Priaulx was in a good run of form in the championship heading to Silverstone, a circuit that holds fond memories for the Guernseyman as the scene of his maiden car-racing victory in 2016.
The meeting started in strong fashion for Priaulx as he showed top six pace throughout the two official free practice sessions on Friday. Ending the day only a quarter of a second off the top, he went into the weekend in a confident mood.
It unfortunately didn’t go his way in qualifying the next day however, with a best effort of 57.285s leaving him a lower than anticipated ninth and tenth on the grid for races one and three of the weekend, the first of which followed that afternoon.
Priaulx’s hopes of moving up the order were quickly dashed on the first lap though, as contact from behind at Becketts on the opening lap forced him off circuit and dropped him back to eleventh position in his Arden Motorsport machine.
Quickly getting onto the tail of those ahead, Priaulx picked off two cars over the first half of the race to take ninth place, before showing impressive speed as he closed down a two second gap to the next driver to less than four tenths of a second by the chequered flag.
The Ravenscroft supported driver hoped fortune would turn in his favour for Sunday’s two races, however it would prove to be another tricky day of competition, starting with a relatively subdued second race as he battled in the top ten throughout on his way to eighth at the finish.
The final race of the weekend started in tremendous fashion in front of the live ITV4 television cameras as a superb start saw Priaulx launch himself from tenth into the top six through the first two corners, however his charge would be quickly blunted.
Contact into Brooklands would send him spinning to the rear of the field, however the 17 year old highlighted his clear raw speed once again as he battled his way back to eighth, with only four other drivers in the field posting a lap time faster than his best.
The 2018 F4 British Championship season comes to a close at Brands Hatch in two weeks’ time (29/30 September) around the world-famous Grand Prix layout, with Priaulx heading to Kent having impressively won on each of his last four outings to the circuit.
Sebastian Priaulx: “It’s not been the weekend we wanted ultimately. Our practice pace was strong, but qualifying proved to be our achilles heel again and that left us in a position where we ended up receiving crucial contact in two of the three races.
“We had a good day in free practice on Friday and we headed into the weekend with a strong package, but qualifying didn’t go the way we expected. I just didn’t get the lap together and I was disappointed to end up at the bottom of the top ten.
“It’s hugely frustrating to once again be on the receiving end of contact. For the third meeting in succession we’ve had contact on the opening lap end our chances of strong results, and to have it happen twice this weekend has really cost us.
“Our race pace was generally strong though and we made progress each time out, so by race three our lap-times were hugely competitive. Unfortunately our results didn’t match that, but at least we’ve come away with some more championship points.
“I love Brands Hatch and the Grand Prix circuit in particular, it’s a real driver’s track and I’m looking forward to tackling it in a single-seater for the first time. We’re going to be work hard in the next couple of weeks to ensure we can go there and end the year on a high.”
The images included are from Jakob Ebrey Photography.