Priaulx Tames The Rain For Brilliant Knockhill Podium
Sebastian Priaulx has made it four podium finishes in three meetings in the 2018 British F4 Championship with a fantastic drive to second position in ultra-challenging conditions at Knockhill in Scotland this past weekend (25/26 August). The 1st Central Insurance driver converted one of his strongest qualifying performances of the season into a pair of hard-fought top five finishes, which keeps him in the battle for the top six in the championship heading into the final two meetings of the season. With his podium successes in the previous two outings at Snetterton and Rockingham, Priaulx made the annual trip north of the border to Scotland with confidence high as he prepared to race on the unique, undulating Knockhill circuit for the first time in a single-seater. Quickly getting up to speed with the track during an official pre-event test on Tuesday, the Guernseyman continued building a good platform for the weekend ahead as he posted fast, consistent lap-times across the traditional free practice sessions on Friday. Priaulx carried that promising pace into qualifying the next day, with a brilliant lap-time of 49.172s putting him less than two tenths of a second off pole as he secured top five starting positions for both the first and third races of the weekend. The opening encounter on Saturday afternoon proved to be a relatively quiet affair for the Ravenscroft supported driver, with a faultless drive seeing him run in a comfortable fifth position from start-to-finish; a result that secured him a front-row start for the reverse grid race two. A dramatic change of weather overnight meant he would be greeted by a tricky wet circuit for race two, with Priaulx adapting superbly to the conditions in his Arden Motorsport machine as he held second position in the early stages. Maintaining a great pace throughout the 20 minute encounter, the 17 year old pulled clear of the pack behind and enjoyed a trouble-free run to the chequered flag for a richly-deserved sixth podium finish of his maiden British F4 season so far. Unfortunately Priaulx’s weekend ended on a sour note though in the live televised final race, as following a great launch off the line, contact from another car heading through McIntyre’s corner spun him around and left him stuck on the edge of the circuit. A helpful hand from the marshals ensured his race could continue, however by this stage the Walero brand ambassador was a lap down on the remainder of the field, which meant he lapped the remainder of the race in eleventh position. Sebastian Priaulx: “I’m really pleased to have continued our podium run in the championship this weekend. We were very racy and our pace was consistently strong from start-to-finish, which is a good sign heading into the final two meetings of the year. “Our qualifying performance is something we've been working hard on and this weekend it felt like we made a step forward with it, having been consistently in the top five in both wet and dry conditions in testing. “I gave it everything I had in the opening race and fifth was a good result. It gave us a great platform with the reverse grid for race two and I’m delighted to convert that into the podium, especially with a visor issue hampering my visibility immensely. “The final race was unfortunate and it was frustrating to be the innocent party in contact once again. We won’t dwell on that though as we leave the meeting with plenty of positives and we’re hoping to enjoy some more success in the final two meetings of the year.” The penultimate rounds of the 2018 F4 British Championship are coming up at the ‘Home of British motor racing’ Silverstone in three weeks’ time (15/16 September), before the season finale around the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit (29/30 September).
Image from Jakob Ebrey Photography.