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MOTORSPORT: Hoggard has to settle for second




Weston Hills teenager Johnathan Hoggard finished second to Ayrton Simmons in round nine of the BRDC British F3 event after a controversial final race of the weekend at Silverstone.

Hoggard had triumphed over adversity in the first two days. He started 17th in race one after a 10-place grid penalty from Snetterton but moved himself up to seventh.

However, he then received a five-second penalty which meant he started 12th in the race two grid and still managed to finish second, earning him the 'Fastest British F3 Driver of the Weekend' award from major sponsor Sunoco.

Johnathan Hoggard in action. Photo: IAN WARD (12145405)
Johnathan Hoggard in action. Photo: IAN WARD (12145405)

In the third and final race, Neil Verhagen and Clement Novalak took the flag in first and second places, but both were given five second track limit penalties, having been given a warning flag beforehand, and fell to fifth and sixth respectively in the final classification.

Verhagen started from pole and led the race for the duration, building a lead of over a second after the first lap, making good use of his fresh tyres, while Novalak and Simmons operated closely with Hoggard also right on their tails too.

This was to be the story of the race, with the top four regularly covered by under two seconds, and frequently less than that.

By lap four the top four were separated by just 1.2 seconds but the drama began on the next lap. Verhagen, Novalak and Ulysse De Pauw were all given warning flags for track limits, and on lap seven, Verhagen was the first to be handed a five second penalty by race control.

That instantly promoted Novalak and Simmons, with Simmons sniffing an even better result as he attempted an overtake on Novalak at The Loop on lap eight.

Moments later, Novalak, and Lucas Petersson further down the field were also handed time penalties for track limits, meaning that Simmons in third was now the de facto race leader. He still had to fend off the attentions of a very racy Hoggard though, with the Fortec driver constantly in his mirrors.

Despite the five second time penalties, there was still a chance that the top two could salvage a podium finish if they managed to extend enough of a gap during the remainder of the race, but Simmons and Hoggard were always within touching distance.

The fierce squabble also brought several other drivers into the fight, meaning that Frederick and Jewiss also jumped ahead of the duo, leaving the top two in fifth and sixth at the flag, and giving Simmons his first win.

The top-three were presented with their trophies by BRDC Member and former McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner Matt Parry.

After the race, Hoggard said: “It’s not too bad, I think we got the maximum we could out of the weekend, bearing in mind we came into it with a penalty. There’s still a really long time to go in the championship so I think the rest of the season is up for grabs and all to play for.”

Hoggard remains second overall on 190 points, with Novalak leading with 226.

Verhagen started from pole and led the race for the duration, building a lead of over a second after the first lap, making good use of his fresh tyres, while Novalak and Simmons operated closely with Hoggard also right on their tails too.

This was to be the story of the race, with the top four regularly covered by under two seconds, and frequently less than that.

By lap four the top four were separated by just 1.2 seconds but the drama began on the next lap. Verhagen, Novalak and Ulysse De Pauw were all given warning flags for track limits, and on lap seven, Verhagen was the first to be handed a five second penalty by race control.

That instantly promoted Novalak and Simmons, with Simmons sniffing an even better result as he attempted an overtake on Novalak at The Loop on lap eight.

Moments later, Novalak, and Lucas Petersson further down the field were also handed time penalties for track limits, meaning that Simmons in third was now the de facto race leader. He still had to fend off the attentions of a very racy Hoggard though, with the Fortec driver constantly in his mirrors.

Despite the five second time penalties, there was still a chance that the top two could salvage a podium finish if they managed to extend enough of a gap during the remainder of the race, but Simmons and Hoggard were always within touching distance.

The fierce squabble also brought several other drivers into the fight, meaning that Frederick and Jewiss also jumped ahead of the duo, leaving the top two in fifth and sixth at the flag, and giving Simmons his first win.

The top-three were presented with their trophies by BRDC Member and former McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner Matt Parry.

After the race, Hoggard said: “It’s not too bad, I think we got the maximum we could out of the weekend, bearing in mind we came into it with a penalty.

“It’s been a tough one but nonetheless still some really good results and a massive thanks to Fortec because I don’t think I’d have been able to deliver the results I did without the car they have given me.

“There’s still a really long time to go in the championship, we’ve got to come back here again, two Donington rounds which I believe the Fortec car will be really strong at, and also Spa and tracks where I enjoy like Brands Hatch so I think the rest of the season is up for grabs and all to play for.”

Hoggard remains second overall on 190 points, with Novalak leading with 226.



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