Palmer assumes championship lead after sharing Sunday spoils with Fonseca

Will Palmer took the lead in the Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship standings after claiming victory in race three at Silverstone today (31 May). He crossed the line over eight seconds ahead of his HHC Motorsport team-mate Harri Newey with Mexican Rodrigo Fonseca third.

Earlier in the day, Lanan Racing’s Fonseca had taken a thrilling victory in damp conditions having started from 15th on the grid. He was joined on the podium by South African Sisa Ngebulana, his maiden top-three finish in BRDC F4, with Tom Jackson in third. The new Tatuus-Cosworth MSV F4-016 car also made its first public display as it completed three laps of the Silverstone track following its unveiling on Saturday (30 May).

Overnight and early morning rain had made the 3.660-mile Grand Prix Circuit slick as the 20 drivers in the BRDC F4 field headed out on to the grid for race two of the weekend in Northamptonshire. Argentine racer Hernan Fallas started from pole position by virtue of his eighth-place finish in race one, with debutant Omar Ismail alongside him on the front row.

As the lights went out, Fallas made a strong start to lead into Copse, with a hesitant getaway from Ismail in second leaving him vulnerable to attack. HHC Motorsport driver Sisa Ngebulana, having started fourth, passed Lanan Racing’s Jack Bartholomew for third and then made a move on Ismail for second at Stowe. That put Ismail back in the clutches of Tom Jackson and Jordan Albert, who had been promoted up the order by Bartholomew’s poor start.

Race one winner Will Palmer, having come from eighth on the grid, then made his way into the fight after disposing of Ecurie Ecosse Young Driver Ciaran Haggerty. 18-year-old Palmer put a move on Tom Jackson for fifth while Haggerty was forced to battle it out with the Lanan Racing pair of Chris Mealin and eventual winner Fonseca, who had made his way into the top-eight from 15th.

Albert moved past Ismail for third but as he attacked Fallas for second, he outbraked himself and skated off the track at Brooklands, subsequently dropping down the order. That promoted Palmer to third but in hot pursuit was Fonseca who had taken advantage of others misfortunes to move into fourth, and he soon passed both Palmer and Fallas to claim second.

Jackson relegated Palmer to fifth while ahead Fonseca hit the front with a strong move on Ngebulana into Club and he sprinted away from the HHC car. Tom Jackson took Fallas for third before the Argentine dropped back into the clutches of a gaggle of cars behind including Palmer, Albert and Christodoulou.

Heading onto the final lap, Fonseca had opened up a healthy gap and was untroubled for the rest of the final circuit to take victory, whilst Fallas spun after contact and into retirement, with Palmer inheriting fourth and Albert fifth. Sisa Ngebulana held on to second with the Chris Dittmann Racing car of Tom Jackson rounding out the podium in third.

In the final race of the weekend, Palmer lined up on the front-row with Sean Walkinshaw Racing’s Jordan Albert and comfortably led the field into Copse corner as the lights went out to start the race. Ecurie Ecosse Young Driver Ciaran Haggerty made a strong start and began pressuring Albert as he maintained third place.

Haggerty would soon have a queue forming behind him however and Harri Newey would take the position from the Scottish driver early in the race. Newey, son of legendary Formula One designer Adrian, quickly closed on Jordan Albert and overtook the Sean Walkinshaw Racing car with a bold move around the outside at Brooklands. However by that stage, Will Palmer was already over five-seconds ahead and continued to extend his advantage.

Fonseca passed Jordan Albert for third, with Albert then dropping into the clutches of guest driver Riki Christodoulou, who was deputising for the injured Faisal Al Zubair, and the 26-year-old took fifth, only for Albert to snatch the position back on the last lap.

Will Palmer, untroubled throughout the race, crossed the line in first, 8.292s ahead of team-mate Newey, with Fonseca completing the podium. All three drivers were presented with their trophies by Lotus F1 Team Third and Reserve Driver Jolyon Palmer.

Speaking on the podium, Will Palmer commented: “We knew we had fantastic pace and the team has done a great job all weekend. The car has been spot on and I knew if I made a good start I would be in with a strong chance of taking the win and luckily I was able to. My brother Jolyon has been really crucial in my development and helping to support me so it is great to have him present me with my trophy.”

Championship leader Palmer now has an advantage of 12 points at the top of the standings over Lanan Racing’s Rodrigo Fonseca. Chris Mealin lies in third with Tom Jackson and Jordan Albert fourth and fifth overall respectively.

In between the day’s two races, the new 2016 BRDC F4 car hit the track for three demonstration laps, as fans got their first glance of the Tatuus-Cosworth MSV F4-016 car in action, with Lotus F1 Team Third and Reserve Driver Jolyon Palmer behind the wheel.

It was the first opportunity the public has had to see the new racer on track, following its unveiling by MSV Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer in front of invited guests and media in the Silverstone Wing on Saturday (30 May) evening.

Speaking after the run, Jolyon Palmer said: “The new car felt like a great step up from the current BRDC F4 car. There is noticeably more power and the delivery is much crisper. The conditions weren’t great on track but, even with that considered, the grip level was very high. I could immediately feel the improved performance of the brakes and aerodynamic package too.”

Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship, Silverstone, round eight result:

1. Rodrigo Fonseca, Lanan Racing, 8 Laps
2. Sisa Ngebulana, HHC Motorsport, +3.560s
3. Tom Jackson, Chris Dittmann Racing, +3.692s
4. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, +5.117s
5. Jordan Albert, SWR, +6.412s
6. Harri Newey, HHC Motorsport, +8.197s
7. Fernando Urrutia, Douglas Motorsport, +9.896s
8. Jack Bartholomew, Lanan Racing, +11.211s
9. Riki Christodoulou, Hillspeed, +11.873s
10. Michael O’Brien, Mark Godwin Racing, +13.549s
11. Akhil Rabindra, Douglas Motorsport, +15.446s
12. Zubair Hoque, SWR, +17.520s
13. Sebastian Lanzetti, Hillspeed, +18.398s
14. Ciaran Haggerty, Ecurie Ecosse/GBR, +19.267s
15. Jack Lang, Lang Sport/Gorse Motors, +24.521s
16. Ameya Vaidyanathan, Hillspeed, +30.200s
17. James Reveler, 23 Racing, +46.420s
DNF. Hernan Fallas, Mark Godwin Racing, 7 Laps
DNF. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, 7 Laps
DQ. Chris Mealin, Lanan Racing, Excluded

Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship, Silverstone, round nine result:

1. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, 10 Laps
2. Harri Newey, HHC Motorsport, +8.292s
3. Rodrigo Fonseca, Lanan Racing, +9.883s
4. Jordan Albert, SWR, +11.824s
5. Riki Christodoulou, Hillspeed, +12.268s
6. Ciaran Haggerty, Ecurie Ecosse/GBR, +12.818s
7. Chris Mealin, Lanan Racing, +25.845s
8. Akhil Rabindra, Douglas Motorsport, +26.894s
9. Sebastian Lanzetti, Hillspeed, +27.528s
10. Tom Jackson, Chris Dittmann Racing, +29.984s
11. Fernando Urrutia, Douglas Motorsport, +30.830s
12. Zubair Hoque, SWR, +31.085s
13. Michael O’Brien, Mark Godwin Racing, +35.822s
14. Ameya Vaidyanathan, Hillspeed, +37.608s
15. Jack Bartholomew, Lanan Racing, +37.732s
16. Jack Lang, Lang Sport/Gorse Motors, +38.624s
17. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, +40.663s
18. Sisa Ngebulana, HHC Motorsport, +46.934s
19. Hernan Fallas, Mark Godwin Racing, +51.488s
20. James Reveler, 23 Racing, +1m02.920s

* Denotes a non-scoring guest entry

2015 Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship standings after race nine of 24

1. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, 193 points
2. Rodrigo Fonseca, Lanan Racing, 181 points
3. Chris Mealin, Lanan Racing, 162 points
4. Tom Jackson, Chris Dittmann Racing, 152 points
5. Jordan Albert, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, 143 points
6. Jack Bartholomew, Lanan Racing, 141 points
7. Harri Newey, HHC Motorsport, 128 points
8. Ciaran Haggerty, Ecurie Ecosse/GBR, 118 points
9. Zubair Hoque, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, 101 points
10. Michael O’Brien, Mark Godwin Racing, 93 points
11. Sebastian Lanzetti, Hillspeed, 89 points
12. Sisa Ngebulana, HHC Motorsport, 88 points
13. Fernando Urrutia, Douglas Motorsport, 86 points
14. Akhil Rabindra, Douglas Motorsport, 84 points
15. Jack Lang, Lang Sport/Gorse Motors, 75 points
16. Ameya Vaidyanathan, Hillspeed, 69 points
17. Faisal Al Zubair, Hillspeed, 54 points
18. James Reveler, 23 Racing, 47 points
19. Hernan Fallas, Mark Godwin Racing, 35 points
20. Paul Sieljes, Chris Dittmann Racing, 34 points
21. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, 20 points

The next rounds of the Duo BRDC F4 Championship takes place on 11-12 July at Snetterton.