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Johnathan Hoggard races at Austria's Red Bull Ring in the FIA Formula 3 Championship

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Weston Hills' Johnathan Hoggard secured his first points finish in the FIA Formula 3 Championship at the weekend.

It was Hoggard's first-ever visit to Austria's Red Bull Ring and just his second meeting in the series this year.

But he took 10th place in Saturday's second race and was pleased with his progress overall during the weekend.

Johnathan Hoggard. Photo: Sebastiaan Rozendaal/Dutch Photo Agency.
Johnathan Hoggard. Photo: Sebastiaan Rozendaal/Dutch Photo Agency.

Hoggard said: "Generally, my starts and opening laps were good and I am happy with how I progressed, though it's a bit of a struggle to make up ground when everyone has DRS (drag reduction system).

"It was a steady progression through the races, but looking back on it, it was good to be able to make up as many places as we did.

“Race two was good. I made another good start, but it was quite chaotic, so I had to keep my nose clean.

"I caught onto the back of the leading pack, but we struggled to follow in the dirty air through the high-speed corners and be able to make the progression that the other guys could. We could catch them and then got stuck.

"Race three started well, but on lap two I got some understeer from the car in front and just ran wide, putting two wheels on the gravel and losing five places.

"To come back through the field was nice and it was a good race, but it was a shame about the track limits penalty at the end.

"Overall, the weekend was positive – we just lack that little bit extra to move forward, so we are working on that with the team.

"Ultimately, if we can qualify further up the grid, we can get some better results. I am looking forward to the next couple of rounds where hopefully we can continue this positive progress."

Things started promisingly for the former Deepings School pupil as he finished Friday's free practice session 14th quickest of the 30 entrants, as he continued to build up his knowledge and experience in the car and series after almost nine months away from racing due to the pandemic.

Jonathan Hoggard. Photo: Diederik van der Laan/Dutch Photo Agency.
Jonathan Hoggard. Photo: Diederik van der Laan/Dutch Photo Agency.

Happy with the set-up of the car, the 20-year-old and his Jenzer Motorsport team focused on qualifying but finding clear space around the 2.6-mile circuit proved to be difficult.

With traffic thwarting his best attempts at securing a good lap time, he was left disappointed with 27th place on the grid – 1.2 seconds off the pole position time.

Trusting his racing ability, Hoggard made an impression during the first race of the weekend as he avoided making any mistakes, gaining an excellent nine places during the 24-lap contest to finish in 18th place, just outside of the points positions.

He improved again in race two, making up several places off the grid to run in 15th before the safety car was called.

When racing resumed Hoggard had a good battle with championship leader Dennis Hauger and made further progress through the field before a virtual safety car was called on lap 11.

Two laps later, and now back up to full speed, he joined a nine-car train for second place, eventually finishing in 10th place for his first points of the season in a very competitive grid.

Hoggard had to do it all again for Sunday’s feature race, where he started in 26th place.

He climbed to 22nd at the end of the first lap but a slight mistake cost him on lap two, dropping back to 27th.

After that he got his head down, and once again set consistent lap times as he made his way past rivals to cross the line in 18th place at the flag.

Unfortunately, a number of post-race penalties for track limits infringements were handed out across the field, including for the BRDC SuperStar, which dropped him down the final order.

Happy with his progress during the weekend, Hoggard now has to wait a month before the next rounds of the FIA Formula 3 Championship at the Hungaroring in Hungary over the weekend of July 30th-August 1st.

In the meantime, he will be in attendance at the British Grand Prix over the weekend of July 16-18 where he represents the prestigious BRDC SuperStars programme, of which he is a proud member.

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