Kennard back on the podium at home circuit British racing ace Jonathan Kennard had a weekend of mixed fortunes in the latest rounds of the Lloyds TSB Insurance British Formula 3 Championship at his home track, Brands Hatch in Kent, last weekend...
Kennard back on the podium at home circuit
British racing ace Jonathan Kennard had a weekend of mixed fortunes in the latest rounds of the Lloyds TSB Insurance British Formula 3 Championship at his home track, Brands Hatch in Kent, last weekend but once again proved his mettle by returning to the podium with a third place.
Kennard, 22, from Tunbridge Wells, pulled off the daredevil move of the weekend to take the third place in the first race on Sunday, darting between two of his rivals' cars at 140mph as he entered the super-fast Hawthorns corner.
A persistent vibration in his Raikkonen-Robertson Racing Dallara plagued him all weekend, and would eventually stop him from progressing higher than 10th in the second race of the weekend.
Starting from fifth on the grid, Kennard got a good start and had a better run than many of his rivals through the first corner, Paddock Hill Bend. This allowed him to stay close to the back of fourth-placed Sebastian Hohenthal on the long run into the countryside.
He moved to the left of the Swede, the outside for Hawthorns corner, but suddenly found a slowing Sam Bird, his car suffering mechanical woes, directly in front of him. Seizing the opportunity, Kennard sliced between Hohenthal and Bird as he turned into Hawthorns.
After that, Jonathan followed Stephen Jelley's every move but could not find a way past for second place. "I felt I was quicker than Stephen," said Jonathan. "But every time I got close, I lost downforce as a result, and then had to back off again."
Starting fifth in race two, Kennard had high hopes of a repeat performance, even with the continuing vibration, which remained a mystery to his team despite exhaustive tests.
But, after another good start to hold position off the line, Kennard made a rare mistake at Sheene's Curve on the opening lap, running off the track and losing 10 places, rejoining in 15th. "There was no contact with anyone else on the first lap, I was just caught out with the level of oversteer in the car on lap one".
He put on a fine comeback display in the following laps, moving up five places in five laps to reach the top 10. But by then the car's handling had gone off and the vibration through the steering column was causing Kennard more problems, and he had to hold station in a disappointing 10th.
"The vibration was through the pedals, chassis and was coming up through the steering column," he explained. "It comes up through your arms and legs so by the end of the race, my vision was starting to go blurry, so I was happy just to finish.
"I'm delighted to have got myself back on the podium this weekend, especially at my home track. I just need to get more of those podiums to make a difference now."
Kennard's next F3 action will be at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium, on July 28/29. Last year, he scored one of his best results to date at the Belgian Grand Prix track, with a storming drive in the rain. He will be hoping for a similar result in two week's time.