Awesome Kennard tames Spa to score best ever result British racing ace Jonathan Kennard signalled his intentions for the second half of the Lloyds TSB Insurance British Formula 3 International Series by stunning the paddock with a pair of...
Awesome Kennard tames Spa to score best ever result
British racing ace Jonathan Kennard signalled his intentions for the second half of the Lloyds TSB Insurance British Formula 3 International Series by stunning the paddock with a pair of electric performances in Belgium this weekend.
Racing at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps Grand Prix circuit, known as one of the biggest challenges in world motorsport, Tunbridge Wells racer Kennard showed why he is one of the UK's brightest rising stars by putting in his best showings of the year so far, and two of the best demonstrations of overtaking skill and racecraft of the season.
He scythed from 11th on the grid in race one to third before being caught out by rainfall during the race, and slipping back down the order and in the second outing, he proved it had been no fluke by repeating the feat, climbing from 10th on the grid to an incredible fourth place.
At the start of race one, 21-year old Kennard and his Alan Docking Racing team took the decision to fit slick dry-weather tyres to his Mugen-powered Dallara racing car despite the Ardennes drizzle that was falling as the grid lined up.
He gained two places at the start as other drivers pitted after the warm-up lap to switch to wet Avon tyres. Once the race was underway, there followed a masterclass in passing and judging the slightly damp track.
"The initial start wasn't brilliant," admitted Jonathan. "But I'd seen on the warm-up lap that it was dry almost everywhere around the circuit. A lot of people were being very cautious, though, and I was able to pull off loads of great moves around the outside of other drivers."
The overtaking moves just kept coming from the on-form Kennard, who showed he has bags of bravery as well as the skill to make the moves stick. He went round the outside of team-mate Karl Reindler and Alberto Valerio in one move, passed Stephen Jelley around the outside at Blanchimont, and even went round the outside of James Jakes at the fearsome Eau Rouge bend.
Kennard rose as high as third after overtaking James Walker and Yelmer Buurman around the outside at Fagnes and looked on to score his first Championship Class and overall podium, but was thwarted when the rain returned. He was running very little wing in order to make the best of Spa's fast, long straights and slithered off the track, which lost him one place. A further spin saw him lose more places, eventually finishing ninth. But the point had been made.
Race two brought more of the same in terms of searing pace and overtaking prowess. Kennard aced the start, moving ahead of championship leader Mike Conway, Jelley and Jakes off the line before pulling off pass after pass on his relentless ascent to an awesome fourth place finish.
The final place was gained thanks to a fantastic run out of La Source, which enabled Jonathan to gain a 159mph tow from Mexican Salvador Duran through Eau Rouge and up the Kemel Straight. The pair were side by side into Les Combes, but Jonathan squeezed through around the outside to take fourth on the last lap.
"It was a really good weekend," beamed Kennard. "The testing we've done in between races is starting to pay off now and we're really getting there with the set-up of the car. I would like to thank the team for the enormous amount of hard work they have been putting in. The passes I was making were all good, strong manoeuvres that showed exactly what I'm capable of. "
"Now I can't wait to keep the momentum going in the right direction at the next round."
Jonathan's 12-point haul from Spa moves him up to 10th in the overall series standings.
Kennard's next British F3 action will be at Silverstone, home of the British Grand Prix, on August 12/13, when he will run alongside some of Formula 1's greatest names like Nigel Mansell, Emerson Fittipaldi and Alain Prost, who will all be competing in the Grand Prix Masters event.