HHC Motorsport’s Will Palmer holds an extended 18 point lead in the BRDC F4 Winter Championship, after an eventful day in challenging wet conditions at Brands Hatch which saw wins for South American drivers Gaetano di Mauro and Rodrigo Fonseca.
Di Mauro’s win in race one temporarily put him in the lead of the championship, benefiting from an off track excursion from Palmer to take a six point lead after round five. But Di Mauro was then eliminated in a collision in the second contest, leaving Palmer to take a podium and an 18 point lead in the standings.
Di Mauro’s second win of the campaign this morning was impressive, making a good start and leading from start to finish in difficult conditions. He held off a constant challenge from pole sitter Connor Jupp, who claimed his and the Mectech team’s first single seater podium finish, with Jordan Albert third. Albert held off a race long challenge from Rodrigo Fonseca, who spun on the penultimate lap, but still recovered to pass Zubair Hoque on the final lap to claim fourth.
Palmer lost his championship lead, which stood at 12 points ahead of the weekend, after an excursion through the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend on lap two, which dropped him to the tail of the field. He recovered well though to make three overtakes to salvage sixth.
Di Mauro commented: “Jupp was really quick and he was catching me, but I managed the gap and tried to save the tyres as well and I was pleased to take the win. With Palmer finishing lower down, it was even better.”
Fonseca lined-up on pole for race two, with the grid decided by race one fastest laps, and made a great start to hold his lead ahead of Jordan Albert, while a rapid start from Palmer lifted him from fifth to third at the expense of di Mauro and Jupp.
Palmer, Jupp and di Mauro engaged in an entertaining battle which saw the trio frequently exchange places, allowing Fonseca and Albert to build a good margin at the front.
Palmer made a decisive move on Jupp stick on lap 16 at Surtees, with di Mauro following suit in an effort to keep his title rival in sight. But at Paddock Hill on lap 17, Jupp came from a long way behind and made contact with Di Mauro, both drivers ending their race in the gravel and earning Jupp a three place grid penalty for tomorrow's round seven.
With Di Mauro out of the race, Palmer was in prime position to regain the initiative in the title battle. Fonseca claimed the win, his first in BRDC F4, with Jordan Albert taking his second podium of the day in second, while Palmer’s third meant he re-claimed the lead in the championship battle.
Fernando Urrutia secured his best F4 result yet in fourth, ahead of series newcomer Paul Sieljes, with Enzo Bortoleto and Zubair Hoque completing the finishers.
Fonseca commented: “I’m very happy, the team did a great job. It feels amazing to take my first win here. We had a good start and the guys behind were fighting so I managed to build a gap and it wasn’t too difficult a race. But I still had to absorb any pressure without making mistakes. I hope this is the first of many wins!”
Championship leader Palmer said: “I got a mega start from fifth and almost got second, but was then passed and dropped two places. I then had a great scrap with di Mauro and then got past Jupp into third. Towards the end I was trying to get past Jordan but just ran out of time.
“I’m really happy to take back the championship lead but there are still two races to go so I need to focus on those now.”
BRDC F4 Winter Championship, Brands Hatch, race one result:
1. Gaetano di Mauro, PetroBall Racing, 22 laps2. Connor Jupp, Mectech Motorsport, +0.925s3. Jordan Albert, SWR - Caterham F1, +5.060s4. Rodrigo Fonseca, Douglas Motorsport, +17.709s5. Zubair Hoque, SWR - Caterham F1, +18.512s6. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, +18.999s7. Enzo Bortoleto, PetroBall Racing, +24.833s8. Fernando Urrutia, SWR - Caterham F1, +25.201s9. Paul Sieljes, Chris Dittmann Racing, +32.370s
BRDC F4 Winter Championship, Brands Hatch, race two result:
1. Rodrigo Fonseca, Douglas Motorsport, 22 laps2. Jordan Albert, SWR - Caterham F1, +3.340s3. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, +4.001s4. Fernando Urrutia, SWR - Caterham F1, +16.729s5. Paul Sieljes, Chris Dittmann Racing, +23.348s6. Enzo Bortoleto, PetroBall Racing, +1 lap7. Zubair Hoque, HHC Motorsport, +1 lapDNF. Gaetano di Mauro, PetroBall Racing, +6 lapsDNF. Connor Jupp, Mectech Motorsport, + 6 laps
BRDC F4 Winter Championship, provisional standings after round six of eight:
1. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, 175pts2. Gaetano di Mauro, PetroBall Racing, 157pts3. Rodrigo Fonseca, Douglas Motorsport, 140pts4. Jordan Albert, SWR – Caterham F1, 118pts5. Connor Jupp, Mectech Motorsport, 109pts6. Zubair Hoque, HHC Motorsport, 95pts7. Harri Newey, HHC Motorsport, 76pts8. Fernando Urrutia, SWR – Caterham F1, 75pts9. Enzo Bortoleto, PetroBall Racing, 57pts10. Paul Sieljes, Chris Dittmann Racing, 31pts
The second qualifying session starts at 10.00 tomorrow morning (Sunday) with two final races at 12.00 and 15.00 to decide the outcome of the 2014 BRDC F4 Winter Championship. For more information, visit www.formula4.com.