Sensational Jewiss takes maiden F4 win from back of the grid
Kiern Jewiss was the star of the show at Donington Park as the FM Conway-sponsored youngster recovered from a mechanical issue in qualifying to take his maiden British F4 win from the back of the grid in what has been called one of the finest drives in the series’ history.
Jewiss dominates Thursday’s dry practice to top the timesheets in both morning and afternoon sessions
Broken front anti-roll bar in a wet qualifying session meant Kiern could only manage a 7th place start for race one and a 10th place start for race three
An incident-filled race one saw Jewiss spun on the opening lap but kept driving before a race-ending incident left him beached in the gravel after showing fantastic pace
Jewiss then stunned crowds by driving from the back of the grid to take his maiden British F4 win in what has been described as ‘one of the finest drives in the history of the series’
In the final race of the weekend, Jewiss shot up the order from 10th to a 3rd place finish to collect more silverware and points
Jewiss posted the fastest lap in two of the weekend’s three races
The fifteen-year-old leaves Donington Park 2nd in the Drivers’ Championship trailing the championship leader by just 14 points
The week’s practice sessions took place on Thursday at the 1.957-mile circuit and for Kiern it was a dominating performance to kick-start his weekend at Donington Park. Sunshine set the scene for the day’s action and the morning session saw the 15-year old Double R Racing driver finish in 1st place after posting a 1:08.074 lap time, two-tenths faster than nearest rival Dennis Hauger. Kiern’s pace was clear to see at Donington, with Jewiss posting four lap times that all would have kept him in 1st place.
Kiern’s dominance continued into the afternoon session where he again topped the timesheets, this time with a 1:07.546, three tenths clear of his nearest rival Patrick Pasma. Only ten laps from the entire field were good enough to break the 1:08-minute barrier in the afternoon session, with Kiern responsible for seven of them!
Jewiss was thrilled with the start he had made in Donington but knew there was still a lot of work to do. “The weekend couldn’t have started any better, P1 in both sessions leaves us confident heading into qualifying. Unfortunately, the weather for qualifying and races is set to be completely different from today so we’re going to have to wait and see if we can replicate our speed in different conditions.”
As temperatures plummeted and rain fell at Donington Park, qualifying was an extremely wet session with spray and standing water adding to the challenge of posting a good lap time. Kiern headed out straight away to begin his session but appeared hampered from the start.
Kiern wrestled his Ford EcoBoost-powered F4 car throughout the session, with the car visually unstable on the wet surface. Kiern managed to salvage something from his qualifying session as he posted a 1:26.514 on his last attempt to qualify in 7th place for race one, but his second fastest lap time was only good enough for a 10th place starting position for race three.
After analysing the onboard footage and data, Kiern and the Double R team knew there was an issue with Kiern’s car and, before the first race of the weekend, they discovered a broken front anti-roll bar that was quickly replaced.
“Qualifying was really disappointing but we can’t dwell on it. The car felt horrible in the wet and I knew something was wrong, I came back to the paddock and the team stripped the car back and found that the front anti-roll bar had been broken and that was making the car handle so poorly. Now that’s all fixed, we’re ready to go racing!”
With rain sticking around and starting from seventh-place, Kiern got off the line well but remained in seventh through the twitchy first half of the lap. Heading up the hill, Kiern took the outside line at McLeans, a risky move, and contact between Simmons and Tonteri sent Tonteri into the back of Kiern’s car – spinning Kiern into the gravel.
Keeping his foot to the floor, Kiern managed to not get his car stuck and returned to the race at the back of the field. However, this did not deter Kiern and he began to set the timing screens alight with purple sectors and fastest laps, with his sixth lap recording the fastest lap of the race.
Making his way back through the order, Kiern got back to 8th place and was pushing Ayrton Simmons for seventh place. Again, getting a great run up the hill, Kiern took to the outside of McLeans and had passed Simmons when the JHR drivers car tagged the back of Kiern.
This time, Kiern spun into the gravel but couldn’t manage to get his car out and the first race of the weekend ended in a DNF, a disappointing result.
“Today’s race was very frustrating, being spun twice trying to go around the outside and both times I thought the moves had been completed and then next thing I’m going backwards into the gravel. The pace was so much better than qualifying, so a huge thanks to Double R for getting everything fixed in time.”
Due to his race one DNF, Kiern was forced to start the second race of the weekend from the back row of the grid and the rain had finally stopped falling on the Leicestershire track to leave a dry but cold surface – making the importance of heating up the tyres and brakes even more crucial.
Vigorously working his tyres and brakes, Kiern lined up on the grid ready to do his best to make his way through the order and when the lights went out for the second race at Donington, Kiern got a blistering start off the line and took to the outside of turn one to pass five cars in one fell swoop!
Kiern continued to storm his way through the field and by the end of the first lap, he was already seven places better off in sixth place. The Kent youngster was not finished though and had plenty more in store for the spectators.
Continuously lapping quicker than any other driver, Kiern posted the fastest lap of the race and was up to fourth by lap six and in the hunt for the lead which was occupied by Dennis Hauger.
Closing in on Ericsson, Kiern pulled off a scintillating overtake on the Fortec driver with a move that is an early contender for overtake of the season. Running around the outside of Ericsson through the long right-hander at Coppice, Jewiss bravely hung on right at the limit of grip to move into the podium places.
Jewiss’ third place soon turned into second after on-track leader Hauger received a five-second time penalty for exceeding track limits. However, with no radios in F4, Kiern knew he was running second from his pitboard but was unsure if it was Hauger or Simmons who was carrying the time penalty.
The final phase showed Jewiss’ relentless attitude and on lap 14, Kiern got a great exit out of Roberts onto Wheatcroft Straight to power past Simmons on the run down to Redgate as huge cheers rang out from the spectators as Donington Park. From then on he kept Hauger in his sights and Simmons at bay to secure a memorable maiden British F4 win with what has been described as ‘one of the finest drives in the history of the series’.
“This win feels amazing,” said an ecstatic Jewiss. “I couldn’t have done any of this without Double R Racing. A big thanks to must go to them, MB Partners, FM Conway and HCL.
“We’re really good at getting the tyres up to temperature so we can perform really well from the outset. I got as much heat in my tyres as I could for the opening lap and pushed as hard as possible. I threw caution to the wind and went all the way around the outside at the start to make up places.”
“I realised Ericsson wasn’t carrying as much speed as me through Coppice so kept my foot in and went on the outside. I just had enough momentum to get by him before the chicane at the end of the straight.”
“I didn’t know who was in the lead. My pitboard was showing P2, but I didn’t know whether it was Ayrton or Dennis who had the penalty. Then once I overtook Ayrton the board showed P1 so there was plenty of emotion going on in the cockpit.”
“I tried to get Simmons at the Craner Curves, but waited patiently, got a better drive out of the last chicane and took my opportunity to pass him. For the next race everyone is going to be on scrubbed tyres so it’s going to be about getting the moves done early and then looking after tyres at the end. It will be easy to make mistakes and it will be all about avoiding them.”
The feature race of the weekend at Donington Park, race three, was broadcast live on ITV4 to a national audience and Kiern hoped to replicate his race two heroics, this time from P10 onthe grid. As the lights went out for the start of the final race of the weekend, Kiern again got a strong start off the line and looked to the outside of turn one to make up places.
Unfortunately, Simmons closed the door on Kiern and was pushed wide onto the grass but kept control of his car and didn’t lose any momentum or positions running down the hill. At the Old Hairpin, cars in front of Kiern came together and Kiern did brilliantly to avoid the spinning cars and made up a handful of positions in doing so.
Crossing the line for the end of lap one in 5th place, the safety car was then brought out to recover the cars that had been caught up in the first lap drama and it stayed out until the race was restarted on lap seven.
With Priaulx next in front for Kiern, Priaulx saw an opportunity to pounce on Hauger, but left the door open to Kiern who did not need a second invitation – passing the fellow-Ginetta Junior graduate to move into fourth-place.
The next target for Jewiss was Hauger who put up a resolute defence, but ultimately succumbed to Jewiss’ attack on lap nine. The Double R racer pulling off an assertive yet legal move through the Roberts chicane.
Jewiss found himself surrounded by Arden cars for the final phase of the race, with Pasma defending second place robustly and Priaulx and Doohan snapping at his heels. Kiern was pushing Pasma to the limit and found himself being pushed onto the grass twice whilst trying to overtake – manoeuvres that would later result in Pasma being given a five-grid place penalty for the next round.
Kiern remained in an Arden sandwich up until the chequered flag to come home in 3rd place to complete a captivating Sunday performance.
“I got another good start and made up a lot of places, although it wasn’t quite as many as the last race. I got through the field well, but when I got to Patrik he defended so hard and at times I was on the grass.I was in a bit of an Arden sandwich and it was tough, because I was trying to attack and defend at the same time. It was a hard battle, but I held my nerve.”
“It’s been another really good weekend with regard to scoring points. The first race didn’t go so well, but the second and third races were brilliant and I put that down to everyone at Double R Racing and Ford for putting together such an excellent car and a competitive championship.”
Kiern now departs Donington Park second in the Drivers’ Championship with 88 points trailing championship leader, Ayrton Simmons, by just 14 points. Next up for Kiern is a trip to the high-speed Thruxton on the 19th – 20th May.