Will Palmer took a lights-to-flag victory in race one on the Grand Prix circuit at Brands Hatch today (August 1) as he extended his championship lead with his fifth win of the year. Ecurie Ecosse Young Driver Ciaran Haggerty claimed the runner-up spot as he led third-placed man Tom Jackson across the line.
With limited testing on the demanding 2.433-mile Grand Prix layout, the Duo BRDC Formula 4 drivers were handed a 20 minute practice session in the morning to familiarise themselves with the circuit. Championship leader Palmer was over a second quicker than nearest rival Rodrigo Fonseca, who was 1.200s slower in second, with Tom Jackson third for Chris Dittmann Racing.
In brilliant sunshine, the 19 drivers on the grid took to the track for qualifying and it was young Scot Ciaran Haggerty who set the initial pace, before he was knocked off top spot by the Chris Dittmann Racing pairing of Jackson and Omar Ismail. Midway through the session, the HHC Motorsport duo of Will Palmer and Harri Newey began lighting up the timing screens and it was championship leader Palmer who jumped to the top of the standings with a 1m25.706s; Newey slotting into second just 0.101s slower.
On the next tour, Palmer extended his advantage with a 1m24.685s, a time that would ultimately prove good enough to take pole position. Newey held on to second with Ciaran Haggerty taking third, ahead of Jackson and Ismail.
As the lights went out to start race one of the weekend, Palmer made a strong getaway and the 18-year-old led the field into Paddock Hill Bend. Behind, his HHC Motorsport team-mate Harri Newey made a sluggish getaway from the front row and he was overtaken by Ciaran Haggerty and Tom Jackson, relegating him to fourth.
The grid filtered through the first turn without incident but Lanan Racing’s Jack Bartholomew and Hillspeed’s Ameya Vaidyanathan then tangled at Druids, forcing them both into retirement and bringing out the safety car. As the marshals worked to recover both of the stricken machines, the field circulated under neutral conditions and a number of racing laps were lost as a result.
Making a clean getaway once the safety car had pulled in, Palmer made excellent progress, breaking the lap record for the circuit, and continued to lower it on successive tours, eventually ending with a 1m25.462s, the fastest of the race. Haggerty dropped back in second but he was comfortably ahead of third-placed Tom Jackson, who was pressured by Newey as the race edged towards its conclusion. Ultimately however, Newey could not get close enough to attempt an overtake of the Maidstone racer and he had to settle for fourth.
Jack Lang, who is running alongside the Douglas Motorsport outfit this weekend, took an impressive fifth ahead of Snetterton winner Omar Ismail and Sean Walkinshaw Racing’s Jordan Albert. Chris Mealin finished eighth with Sisa Ngebulana and Rodrigo Fonseca rounding out the top-10.
The top-three stepped on to the podium and were presented with their trophies by British GT driver and BRDC member James Nash. Speaking on the podium, Palmer said: “It feels really good to win. It was all about getting away in the lead as my pace has been really strong and the car has felt good all day. I had to manage the safety car restart but I got my head down after that to pull away. There is still a long way to go in the championship but it is definitely good to kick off the second half of the season in this manner.”
Palmer’s victory means he extends his lead in the championship to 49 points over second placed man Rodrigo Fonseca. Tom Jackson closes to within 19 points of the Mexican, with Newey and Haggerty moving into fourth and fifth in the standings respectively.
Race two of the weekend gets underway at 10:50am tomorrow (Sunday) with the third and final race of the weekend being broadcast exclusively live on Motors TV from 16:15pm.
2015 Duo BRDC F4 Race One result, Brands Hatch GP
1. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, 12 Laps
2. Ciaran Haggerty, Ecurie Ecosse/GBR, +3.442s
3. Tom Jackson, Chris Dittmann Racing, +7.242s
4. Harri Newey, HHC Motorsport, +7.685s
5. Jack Lang, Lang Sport/Gorse Motors, +12.489s
6. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, +12.895s
7. Jordan Albert, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +13.412s
8. Chris Mealin, Lanan Racing, +20.284s
9. Sisa Ngebulana, HHC Motorsport, +23.732s
10. Rodrigo Fonseca, Lanan Racing, +24.005s
11. Akhil Rabindra, Douglas Motorsport, +24.483s
12. Fernando Urrutia, Douglas Motorsport, +25.339s
13. Faisal Al Zubair, Hillspeed, +30.651s
14. James Reveler, 23 Racing, +30.721s
15. Joe Stables, JR Racing, +41.677s
16. Zubair Hoque, SWR, +1m22.153s
17. Michael O’Brien, Chris Dittmann Racing, +1 Lap
DNF. Jack Bartholomew, Lanan Racing, 0 Laps
DNF. Ameya Vaidyanathan, Hillspeed, 0 Laps
2015 Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship standings after race 13 of 24
1. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, 295 points
2. Rodrigo Fonseca, Lanan Racing, 246 points
3. Tom Jackson, Chris Dittmann Racing, 227 points
4. Harri Newey, HHC Motorsport, 208 points
5. Ciaran Haggerty, Ecurie Ecosse/GBR, 204 points
6. Chris Mealin, Lanan Racing, 201 points
7. Jordan Albert, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, 193 points
8. Jack Bartholomew, Lanan Racing, 171 points
9. Michael O’Brien, Chris Dittmann Racing, 134 points
10. Jack Lang, Lang Sport/Gorse Motors, 131 points
11. Akhil Rabindra, Douglas Motorsport, 124 points
12. Zubair Hoque, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, 121 points
13. Sisa Ngebulana, HHC Motorsport, 118 points
14. Fernando Urrutia, Douglas Motorsport, 117 points
15. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, 105 points
16. Ameya Vaidyanathan, Hillspeed, 95 points
17. Faisal Al Zubair, Hillspeed, 92 points
18. Sebastian Lanzetti, Hillspeed, 89 points
19. James Reveler, 23 Racing, 74 points
20. Hernan Fallas, Mark Godwin Racing, 35 points
21. Paul Sieljes, Chris Dittmann Racing, 34 points
22. Joe Stables, JR Racing, 20 points
23. Marc Gonzalez, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, 13 points