Jackson and Palmer share spoils on dramatic Sunday at Snetterton

Tom Jackson and Will Palmer took a win apiece on a dramatic Sunday (23 August) in the Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship at Snetterton. An enthralling race two of the weekend saw incidents aplenty but it was Maidstone’s Jackson that came through the carnage to secure his second-ever BRDC F4 win ahead of Harri Newey and Faisal Al Zubair. Race three saw championship leader Palmer dominate proceedings to come home over 11 seconds clear of nearest rival Jackson, with Newey completing the podium in third.

Much as on Saturday, the day’s Duo BRDC Formula 4 action got underway in warm conditions in Norfolk, as Indian racer Akhil Rabindra lined up on pole position alongside Lanan Racing’s Rodrigo Fonseca on the front-row. As the lights went out to start the 10-lap contest, it was third-placed man Faisal Al Zubair who made the best getaway and he attempted to squeeze through the gap between the front-row starters. The Omani racer made contact with the right rear wheel of Fonseca’s machine however as the gap disappeared, which turned the Mexican into Douglas Motorsport’s Rabindra.

Fonseca and Rabindra suffered damage that put them into retirement but Al Zubair managed to continue as the incident caused a major shuffle of the pack behind. The safety car was deployed to neutralise the field and enable the marshals to recover the stricken cars, with Chris Mealin coming across the line in first place despite having started ninth. Tom Jackson held second ahead of championship leader Will Palmer, Harri Newey and the Hillspeed car of Al Zubair.

After racing resumed, the Chris Dittmann Racing car of Tom Jackson began harrying Mealin for the lead, which allowed the HHC Motorsport duo of Palmer and Newey to make it a four-way fight at the front.

On lap four, Palmer jinked out of Jackson’s slipstream into Riches and took second position, holding off the 18-year-old as he tried to retake the place into Montreal. Mealin was next in Palmer’s sights and, having got a strong run out of Murrays, the Lanan Racing car forcefully defended down the start/finish straight which, after the race, the Clerk of the Course determined was an unlawful manouevre and Mealin was excluded from the results. Heading into Agostini, Palmer made a move down the inside of Mealin but contact between the two ensued and the championship leader’s race came to end with broken rear suspension, with Mealin receiving penalty points for his role in the crash.

Tom Jackson moved into the lead therefore and, having defended from Mealin briefly, looked in control at the front. The race moved into its closing stages and the red-and-yellow car of Jackson completed the final circuit untroubled and saw the chequered flag 2.174s ahead of Mealin and Newey, with Newey moving up to second with the Manxman’s exclusion. Behind Newey, Faisal Al Zubair defended brilliantly to take fourth on the road and third in the results, his first BRDC F4 podium finish, just 0.134s ahead of Ismail.

In slightly more overcast conditions than the first two races of the weekend, the Duo BRDC Formula 4 field headed out on to the grid for the final instalment of action in Norfolk. By virtue of his fastest lap in race one, championship leader Palmer lined up on pole position with Maidstone racer Tom Jackson for company on the front-row.

As the lights went out, it was Jackson who made the better getaway and he took the lead as the pack of 19 cars turned into Riches for the first time. Behind the front two, Jack Bartholomew moved into third with Ciaran Haggerty following him past Harri Newey, who was relegated to fifth having started on the second row.

Palmer soon regained the lead however as he passed Jackson into Murrays at the end of the opening lap. Bartholomew lost out in third and dropped behind Haggerty and Newey to sixth. Midway through the race, Newey got a great tow down Bentley Straight and pulled off a bold move down the inside of Haggerty into Brundle to assume third.

Up front, Will Palmer was putting together a number of consecutive fastest laps to extend his advantage. He eventually dropped under lap record pace, his best time a 1m49.751s shaving nearly sixth-tenths of a second off his existing 300 circuit benchmark. Having lost third, Haggerty was soon relegated to fifth as Ismail followed the example of Newey to pull alongside down the Bentley Straight and held on around the outside to complete the move under braking at Nelson.

As all 19 drivers headed on to the final circuit, Palmer held an advantage of 10 seconds over Jackson and eventually took the chequered flag 11.143s ahead of his rival. Harri Newey was a further 4.400s back in third with Ismail and Haggerty completing the top-five. Rookie Jack Bartholomew came under pressure from Jordan Albert for sixth but defended well to hold on to the position at the end of the 10-lap race.

Speaking after the race, Will Palmer said: “After the disappointment of race two, I wanted to bounce back in style and it was good to be able to take back the lead having lost it off the start. After that, I just wanted to lower the lap record as much as I could. It’s a nice record to have as no-one will be able to better that now as the series moves to the new car in November.

“The start didn’t go to plan but the opportunity came at the end of the first lap to take the lead. It was just like qualifying after that and I was able to bring it home.”

Tom Jackson added: “This is the first time I’ve ever got three podiums from three races on a weekend, including a win so I can’t complain. Its lots of points in the championship so it’s a great weekend and hopefully I can carry that form into Donington. I’m now clear of my rivals in second in the standings and that was the aim when leaving Snetterton.”

Following the weekend’s action, Palmer holds a 74-point lead in the championship standings over nearest rival Jackson. Harri Newey moves into third place with his three podium finishes in Norfolk, relegating Rodrigo Fonseca, who finished the third race in 12th, to fourth in the overall order.

Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship – Snetterton – Round 17

1. Tom Jackson, Chris Dittmann Racing, 10 Laps
2. Harri Newey, HHC Motorsport, +2.468s
3. Faisal Al Zubair, Hillspeed, +6.094s
4. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, +6.228s
5. Jordan Albert, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +7.953s
6. Ciaran Haggerty, Ecurie Ecosse/GBR, +9.453s
7. Jack Lang, Lang Sport/Gorse Motors, +9.869s
8. Jack Bartholomew, Lanan Racing, +10.020s
9. Zubair Hoque, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +11.355s
10. Hernan Fallas, Hillspeed, +15.364s
11. James Reveler, 23 Racing, +19.931s
12. Joe Stables, JR Racing, 20.682s
13. Sisa Ngebulana, HHC Motorsport, +1m07.546s
DNF. Fernando Urrutia, Douglas Motorsport, 8 Laps
DNF. Ameya Vaidyanathan, Hillspeed, 8 Laps
DNF. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, 5 Laps
DNF. Rodrigo Fonseca, Lanan Racing, 0 Laps
DNF. Akhil Rabindra, Douglas Motorsport, 0 Laps
Exc. Chris Mealin, Lanan Racing, Excluded

Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship – Snetterton – Round 18

1. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, 10 Laps
2. Tom Jackson, Chris Dittmann Racing, +11.143s
3. Harri Newey, HHC Motorsport, +15.543s
4. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, +17.561s
5. Ciaran Haggerty, Ecurie Ecosse/GBR, +18.540s
6. Jack Bartholomew, Lanan Racing, +21.026s
7. Jordan Albert, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +21.280s
8. Chris Mealin, Lanan Racing, +21.916s
9. Ameya Vaidyanathan, Hillspeed, +27.566s
10. Jack Lang, Lang Sport/Gorse Motors, +28.120s
11. Faisal Al Zubair, Hillspeed, +28.463s
12. Rodrigo Fonseca, Lanan Racing, +28.961s
13. Sisa Ngebulana, HHC Motorsport, +29.953s
14. Akhil Rabindra, Douglas Motorsport, +32.618s
15. Zubair Hoque, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +34.206s
16. Fernando Urrutia, Douglas Motorsport, +34.359s
17. Joe Stables, JR Racing, +41.634s
18. Hernan Fallas, Hillspeed, +42.116s
19. James Reveler, 23 Racing, +42.569s

2015 Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship standings after race 18 of 24

1. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, 418 points
2. Tom Jackson, Chris Dittmann Racing, 344 points
3. Harri Newey, HHC Motorsport, 315 points
4. Rodrigo Fonseca, Lanan Racing, 303 points
5. Ciaran Haggerty, Ecurie Ecosse/GBR, 298 points
6. Jordan Albert, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, 269 points
7. Chris Mealin, Lanan Racing, 254 points
8. Jack Bartholomew, Lanan Racing, 241 points
9. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, 206 points
10. Jack Lang, Lang Sport/Gorse Motors, 170 points
11. Zubair Hoque, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, 160 points
=. Faisal Al Zubair, Hillspeed, 160 points
13. Sisa Ngebulana, HHC Motorsport, 157 points
14. Akhil Rabindra, Douglas Motorsport, 155 points
15. Fernando Urrutia, Douglas Motorsport, 141 points
16. Michael O’Brien, Chris Dittmann Racing, 134 points
17. Ameya Vaidyanathan, Hillspeed, 128 points
18. James Reveler, 23 Racing, 101 points
19. Sebastian Lanzetti, Hillspeed, 89 points
20. Hernan Fallas, Mark Godwin Racing, 53 points
21. Joe Stables, JR Racing, 49 points
22. Paul Sieljes, Chris Dittmann Racing, 34 points
23. Marc Gonzalez, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, 13 points

The penultimate meeting of the 2015 Duo BRDC Formula 4 season takes place at Donington Park on 12/13 September with rounds 19, 20 and 21 of the year.