British racing ace Jonathan Kennard proved that he is one of the UK's brightest rising stars by fighting through the pain barrier, defying a painful back injury to score two top 10 finishes at the second round of the Lloyds TSB Insurance British...
British racing ace Jonathan Kennard proved that he is one of the UK's brightest rising stars by fighting through the pain barrier, defying a painful back injury to score two top 10 finishes at the second round of the Lloyds TSB Insurance British Formula 3 Championship round at Donington Park.
Kennard, 20, from Tonbridge, dislodged five vertebrae in his spine, tore the ligament around one and tore the muscle around another during testing at the Leicestershire track on Thursday. He had to be extracted from the car and was taken to Queens Hospital in Nottingham, unable to move.
However, despite his debilitating condition, Kennard pressed on and managed to qualify 14th and 15th in Saturday's two sessions, battling against the pain from his injury.
In race one, Alan Docking Racing driver Kennard made a lightning start and passed six cars on the first lap - five were overtaken off the grid, and Kennard went by Dane Christian Bakkerud at Old Hairpin.
That left Jonathan in eighth place, which he held until the chequered flag, completing a remarkable performance.
Race two saw another awesome start from ex-Formula Palmer Audi champion Kennard and, as the damp circuit started to dry, he got quicker and quicker, becoming one of the fastest men on the track by far and moving up the order before getting stuck behind Dutchman Denis Retera.
"I got alongside Denis at a couple of points, but couldn't get past him," said Kennard. "I was stuck behind Denis and I couldn't focus on getting past him because, even though I was a lot quicker than him, I had a lot of quick guys behind me and had to work hard to keep them behind me.
"There was a safety car period and after that I eventually got past Denis at Redgate. I was so fast on the drying track, I caught Salvador Duran within two corners."
Kennard was fighting for fifth place, an astonishing achievement given his back injury, but a clash with the Mexican proved to be Kennard's undoing - a demon move all the way around the outside at Redgate was stymied when Duran clipped the right rear wheel of Kennard's Dallara and tapped him into a spin. Duran's race ended there, but Kennard recovered, albeit further down the order. He finished 10th, although this was a disappointment to Kennard, who was clearly quicker than the result suggested.