Top Brit Kennard Awarded Raymond Mays Trophy at Donington
British Formula 3 ace Jonathan Kennard emerged as the top Briton on the grid at last weekend's third and fourth rounds at Donington Park, with a performance that earned him his first podium of the year.
The second race, in which Tunbridge Wells racer Kennard, 21, took third position, was another example of his masterful car control, as he tamed the greasy track conditions to charge up from eighth on the grid.
It was a superb performance from the Biagios Restaurants-backed driver, which echoed a similar showing last year at the same circuit, and a further storming performance in the rain at Spa, Belgium.
Qualifying saw Kennard secure fourth for race one, and eighth for race two, and he was in confident mood going into the first race, held in drier conditions. The problems he struggled with getting his Double R Racing Dallara-Mercedes off the grid last time out at Oulton Park had been cured, too, so he knew a good result was on the cards.
After a good initial start, he tried to take third position but had to back out and as a result lost a place to Swede Sebastien Hohenthal and, although he hung on gamely to the back of the leading pack, he could not find a way past to reclaim fourth. The gap behind him, however, opened up to almost 14 seconds, showing that he is very much part of the leading group of drivers.
In race two, Kennard showed pure brilliance. Light rain fell just before the race was due to start and, although it had stopped by the time the cars lined up on the grid, the track surface was still slightly damp. With all cars fitted with dry-weather, slick Avon tyres, this made handling treacherous.
But Kennard's exquisitely delicate touch once again outshone anyone else in the field, and he stormed up the order.
At the start, while everyone else piled into the inside of the first turn, Redgate, Kennard opted to go around the outside, picking up two places despite being pushed wide on to the grass!
After that, he picked off car after car, moving up to third and challenging Northern Irishman Niall Breen hard for second.
“I was quicker than Niall,” said Kennard. “But he was driving well, there were a lot of backmarkers causing problems, and we had to wind our way round them too. I had two or three strong goes up the inside at Redgate, but I actually got so close to him that I lost downforce, and he got the run to the next corner.”
Kennard's consistently strong results so far mean he is fourth in the championship standings after four rounds, but only 5 points behind joint second placed drivers Maro Engel and Stephen Jelley. Jonathan was also awarded the highly prestigious Raymond Mays Challenge Trophy for being the top British driver of the weekend.
Kennard's next British F3 outing will be on a challenging new street circuit around the Romanian capital, Bucharest, on May 20.