- Simon Paice
Priaulx Shines At Donington Park With F4 Podium
Sebastian Priaulx has continued his superb start to his maiden F4 British Championship campaign with a brilliant podium finish during the second meeting of the season at Donington Park this past weekend (28/29 April). The 1st Central Insurance supported driver headed into the weekend with confidence high following a sensational race-winning debut at Brands Hatch three weeks ago, and that certainly showed as he fought at the front of the field throughout at the Leicestershire circuit. Priaulx showed great pace in the lead up to the event during official testing, finishing in the top five on the timesheets on both Monday and Thursday, however he would encounter different weather conditions come Saturday as the rain fell heading into qualifying. Competing with the backing of Ravenscroft, Priaulx would get quicker as the session progressed as he acclimatised to the grip levels on circuit, eventually securing a great fourth on the grid for races one and three, the first of which followed that evening. The decisive moment in race one would come at the start, as a fantastic launch off the line allowed Priaulx to immediately challenge the drivers ahead, before a sensationally creative move saw him storm around the outside of two cars to grab second place. From there, Priaulx settled into a rhythm of consistently quick lap times as he pulled over two seconds clear of his closest pursuer, however that would be unfortunately slashed when the action was briefly halted by the safety car just after mid-distance. A great restart from the Guernseyman though saw him immediately pull away from his battling rivals behind again, allowing him to comfortably bring the car home to the chequered flag to make it two podium finishes in his first four British F4 races.
In drier conditions the next morning, Priaulx lined up fourth on the reverse grid in his Arden Motorsport machine for the sixtieth start of his car-racing career so far, however it would unfortunately become a difficult encounter. Initially rising to third position off the line, it would prove to be a bruising opening couple of laps from there as he slipped back to seventh. A strong fightback got him back to fifth at one stage, before he eventually took the finish in sixth position. The seventeen year old bounced back well from that frustration to put in a strong display in the final race of the weekend in front of the live ITV4 television cameras, as he found himself in the middle of a close fought four-way battle for the final podium spot. Changing positions throughout the race, Priaulx came away with a strong fifth place finish to continue his record of finishing every race so far this season in the top six, which has helped him to come away from the weekend third in the championship standings. Sebastian Priaulx: “Donington Park has always been a tough circuit for me, so it was a case of damage limitation heading into the weekend. Therefore to come away with a trio of top six finishes, a great points haul and another podium finish is fantastic for me. “We certainly had the pace over the course of the weekend and while I didn’t always get the chance to show it, I’m pleased with the performance we produced. Every time I get in the car I’m learning loads and my confidence is growing all the time “We’ve been a consistent presence at the front of the field throughout the season so far and we’re going to be working hard between now and Thruxton to ensure we can be challenging for silverware once again around one of the most unique, challenging circuits on the calendar.” Thruxton, the fastest circuit in the United Kingdom, will host rounds seven, eight and nine of the 2018 F4 British Championship season over the weekend of the 19/20 May.
Images from Jakob Ebrey Photography.