Will Palmer claimed the 2015 Duo BRDC Formula 4 title after taking the win in the third and final race of the weekend (12/13 September) at Donington Park today (Sunday). He had earlier scored his ninth success of the year with victory in race two of the meeting, coming through from seventh on the grid, and the BRDC Rising Star, brother of Lotus F1 Team Third Driver Jolyon Palmer, now holds an unassailable lead heading into the final three races of the year at Brands Hatch.
In the reverse grid race two, Sean Walkinshaw Racing’s Jordan Albert lined up on pole position with Lanan Racing’s Chris Mealin for company on the front row. Albert was adjudged to have committed a false start when the lights went out and he was duly handed a 10-second time penalty, ending his hopes of victory.
Chris Dittmann Racing’s Omar Ismail passed Jack Bartholomew at the Melbourne Hairpin on the opening lap to take third on track, but second in reality with Albert’s penalty applied. Further back, championship leader Palmer overtook Ameya Vaidyanathan for fifth and soon passed Ecurie Ecosse Youngster Ciaran Haggerty for fourth through the Craner Curves. He continues his rapid rise through the field to overtake Bartholomew for third on the same lap and slipped past Ismail and Mealin for the lead as the pair clashed coming out of Goddards. Impressive rookie Bartholomew also took advantage of the situation to take second, with Ismail rejoining in third and Mealin sixth.
Halfway through the race, Palmer held a lead of 3.697s over Bartholomew as Vaidyanathan swapped positions with Haggerty, the Indian racer taking fourth at Starkeys. The order of the top three would be disrupted once again as Ismail was awarded a five-second time penalty for track limits infringements. That dropped him to sixth in the timings, promoting Vaidyanathan to third and Haggerty in to fourth.
The constant battle between Vaidyanthan and Haggerty continued with the Scot getting past with a handful of laps remaining, only for the Hillspeed driver to retake the position, and the final podium place, on the last lap. Ahead, Will Palmer was untroubled and he saw the chequered flag 8.886s ahead of Bartholomew to claim his ninth win of the year, with Bartholomew taking his best result in BRDC F4 with second.
The top-three drivers were presented with their trophies on the podium by 2008 Formula Renault Champion and BRDC member Adam Christodoulou. Winner Will Palmer was also awarded The Raymond Mays Salver by Donington Park Managing Director Christopher Tate. The Salver is awarded to the winner of a top-level single-seater race at Donington by the Donington Park Racing Association Club, to commemorate its first President, Raymond Mays.
With a 102-point lead established over nearest rival Tom Jackson, and a 108-point advantage over Newey in third, Palmer needed to finish ahead of both in race three to take the title. By virtue of claiming the fastest lap from the first two races of the weekend, he started on pole position and led the field into Redgate.
Rodrigo Fonseca made a good start to jump from fourth to second on the opening lap, passing Hernan Fallas and Harri Newey in the process. Tom Jackson’s title hopes faded as contact between himself and Mealin put the pair in the gravel at the Old Hairpin, with the safety car introduced to enable the marshals to recover the stricken Lanan Racing car.
When the safety car pulled in, Palmer made a good break from second-place Fonseca, as the Lanan driver had to defend from Newey into Redgate. Behind them, a great scrap was developing as a gaggle of cars followed Hernan Fallas closely in a battle covering fourth down to eighth. Ecurie Ecosse Young Driver Ciaran Haggerty took sixth from Ameya Vaidyanathan on lap five as Fallas defended resolutely from Omar Ismail in fifth.
On lap six, the squabble behind the top-three boiled over as Sisa Ngebulana attempted to pass Ismail into the Melbourne Hairpin. The HHC Motorsport man got out of shape enabling other cars to close, and his race came to an end shortly after as he went into the gravel following contact. That heralded the second safety car period of the race and the field bunched up once more.
When the green flags flew to signal a restart to the race, Palmer made another good getaway and Fonseca was soon being forced to defend from Newey in third, enabling Palmer to extend his advantage. As the field headed on to its final lap, the order in the top four would remain unchanged but Ciaran Haggerty managed to bag another top five finish as he overtook Omar Ismail.
Palmer came home untroubled and saw the chequered flag 4.490s ahead of Fonseca to claim the 2015 Duo BRDC Formula 4 crown. Harri Newey had to settle for third with Hernan Fallas securing his best result of 2015 with fourth.
Speaking after the race, 2015 Champion Palmer said: “I am delighted! It’s amazing after a year of hard work to finally take the crown and it is even better to do it in style, and a round early too. Getting my 10th win sums up my season as it has been amazing, especially since Silverstone. I am absolutely delighted that we’ve been able to be as dominant as we have been this year.
“The two safety car periods were frustrating but having said that, I was confident that I could manage the restarts and pull away. Fortunately, that is exactly what happened.”
The top three were handed their trophies on the podium by 2014 BRDC Formula 4 Champion and BRDC member George Russell, who awarded the first place trophy to his title successor Palmer.
Following the weekend’s action, Palmer is 119 points ahead of his HHC Motorsport team-mate, with just 95 points up for grabs at the season finale. Tom Jackson is a further nine points behind in third with Ciaran Haggerty and Rodrigo Fonseca completing the top-five in the championship standings.Duo BRDC Formula 4 – Donington Park – Round 20
1. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, 12 Laps2. Jack Bartholomew, Lanan Racing, +8.886s3. Ameya Vaidyanathan, Hillspeed, +11.773s4. Ciaran Haggerty, Ecurie Ecosse/GBR, +12.177s5. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, +14.445s6. Tom Jackson, Chris Dittmann Racing, +16.354s7. Harri Newey, HHC Motorsport, +17.451s8. Jordan Albert, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +17.841s9. Rodrigo Fonseca, Lanan Racing, +19.280s10. Chris Mealin, Lanan Racing, +35.676s11. Jack Lang, Lang Sport/Gorse Motors, +36.606s12. Zubair Hoque, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +37.629s13. James Reveler, 23 Racing, +41.879s14. Sisa Ngebulana, HHC Motorsport, +43.186s15. Fernando Urrutia, Douglas Motorsport, +46.773s16. Akhil Rabindra, Douglas Motorsport, +52.900s17. Hernan Fallas, Hillspeed, +1m10.703sDNF. Michael O’Brien, Chris Dittmann Racing, 9 Laps
Duo BRDC Formula 4 – Donington Park – Round 21
1. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, 11 Laps2. Rodrigo Fonseca, Lanan Racing, +4.490s3. Harri Newey, HHC Motorsport, +5.047s4. Hernan Fallas, Hillspeed, +7.743s5. Ciaran Haggerty, Ecurie Ecosse/GBR, +8.046s6. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, +8.266s7. Ameya Vaidyanathan, Hillspeed, +8.518s8. Jack Bartholomew, Lanan Racing, +8.579s9. Jordan Albert, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +8.980s10. Akhil Rabindra, Douglas Motorsport, +9.979s11. Jack Lang, Lang Sport/Gorse Motors, +11.290s12. Tom Jackson, Chris Dittmann Racing, +12.456s13. James Reveler, 23 Racing, +12.598s14. Fernando Urrutia, Douglas Motorsport, +13.848s15. Michael O’Brien, Chris Dittmann Racing, +14.362s16. Zubair Hoque, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +14.688sDNF. Sisa Ngebulana, HHC Motorsport, 6 LapsDNF. Chris Mealin, Lanan Racing, 0 Laps
2015 Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship standings after race 21 of 24
1. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, 507 points2. Harri Newey, HHC Motorsport, 388 points3. Tom Jackson, Chris Dittmann Racing, 379 points4. Ciaran Haggerty, Ecurie Ecosse/GBR, 356 points5. Rodrigo Fonseca, Lanan Racing, 344 points6. Jordan Albert, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, 307 points7. Jack Bartholomew, Lanan Racing, 293 points8. Chris Mealin, Lanan Racing, 280 points9. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, 258 points10. Jack Lang, Lang Sport/Gorse Motors, 190 points11. Ameya Vaidyanathan, Hillspeed, 187 points12. Akhil Rabindra, Douglas Motorsport, 183 points13. Zubair Hoque, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, 182 points14. Sisa Ngebulana, HHC Motorsport, 171 points15. Faisal Al Zubair, Hillspeed, 160 points16. Fernando Urrutia, Douglas Motorsport, 154 points17. Michael O'Brien, Chris Dittmann Racing, 150 points18. James Reveler, 23 Racing, 126 points19. Sebastian Lanzetti, Hillspeed, 89 points20. Hernan Fallas, Hillspeed, 84 points21. Joe Stables, JR Racing, 49 points22. Paul Sieljes, Chris Dittmann Racing, 34 points23. Marc Gonzalez, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, 13 points
The finale of the 2015 Duo BRDC Formula 4 season takes place at Brands Hatch on 26/27 September with rounds 22, 23 and 24 of the year.