Epping’s Ayrton Simmons picked up two fourth place finishes at Rockingham, but a controversial clash with title rival Kiern Jewiss allowed the latter to extend his lead in the British F4 Championship.

The 17-year-old has been struggling with power issues in recent weeks and those problems reared their head once again in qualifying, with the JHR Developments driver only able to qualify in eighth place for race one.

A penalty for Manuel Sulaiman meant Simmons lined up in seventh place on the grid and the Epping racer made up for a disappointing qualifying session by making a superb start, which saw him pull off a brilliant late move down the inside of title rival Jewiss at Tarzan on the opening lap.

That move secured Simmons fourth place and the 17-year-old showed good composure to fend off Jewiss for the rest of the race, meaning he closed the gap on the championship leader to 27 points.

But the Epping racer was unable to build on that strong showing in race two, as a controversial incident with Jewiss brought his race to an abrupt end on the first lap.

Another fast start saw Simmons try to make a move around the outside of Jewiss for third at turn two but his hopes of securing a podium finish were dashed when a tangle, caused by the championship leader, ended the 17-year-old’s race as well as Sebastian Priaulx’s.

Jewiss went onto secure second, consequently increasing his lead at the top of the table in the process, but he was handed a 10 place grid penalty for the final race of the weekend for his role in the incident.

Simmons was determined to bounce back from that disappointment in race three and he looked on course for a podium finish having worked his way up to third after starting in sixth place.

The Epping racer defended valiantly to fend off Jonathan Hoggard and Jewiss throughout the race but with the chequered flag in sight, the JHR Developments driver was pipped on the line by the championship leader, meaning he had to settle for fourth.

That move allowed Jewiss to extend his lead over second place Simmons to 45 points and the 17-year-old will undoubtedly be hoping for better fortunes when the British F4 Championship heads to Knockhill in just under two weeks’ time.