BRDC Formula 4 2015 - Brands Hatch
There are nine of the 24 races still to go in the 2015 Duo BRDC Formula 4 championship, so the proverbial fat lady has yet to sing. But over the weekend of August 1st/2nd at Brands Hatch, Kent, HHC Motorsport's Comma-sponsored Will Palmer more or less made the championship winner's trophy his to lose as he drove to an unchallenged lights-to-flag victory in Saturday's Race 1, then followed up with fourth place in Sunday morning's Race 2 before completing a close-to-perfect points haul for the meeting with another polished win in a sunny afternoon's Race 3.
Fastest ahead of his team-mate Harri Newey in practise and qualifying around the iconic Brand Hatch GP circuit, Palmer was in full control throughout Race 1. He claimed victory by 3.4 seconds over Ecurie Ecosse/GBR driver Ciaran Haggerty who had started fourth and Chris Dittman Racing's Tom Jackson who also improved one place from his grid position to claim the third podium honours. Newy was a disappointed fourth, with Jack Lang (Lang Sport) fifth. Sixth was Jackson's team-mate, Omar Ismail, with Jordan Albert seventh for SWR and Chris Mealin (Lanan) improving from fourteenth on the grid to finish eighth. HHC's third driver, Sisa Ngebulana was ninth and Mexican Rodrigo Fonseca (Lanan) completed the top ten.
After Mealin was penalised for a jumped start from pole position, Jordan Albert emerged the winner by a mere 0.3 seconds from a very closely contested Race 2, with Newey second after starting fifth and Jackson third just 0.2 seconds back after starting sixth on the top-eight reverse grid from Race 1. As noted, Palmer was fourth from eighth on the grid, with Fonseca improving from tenth on the grid to claim fifth and Haggerty also improving by one grid position to finish close behind in sixth. Ismail rather squandered a third place start to finish seventh, and Mealin's 10 second penalty also cost him dearly, with the Manxman crossing the line first on the road but being classified eighth. Faisal Al Zubair (Hillspeed) and Fernado Urrutia (Douglas Motorsport) were ninth and tenth respectively.
With the grid for Race 3 determined by each driver's fastest lap in the meeting so far, Palmer made a clean get-away from pole with fellow front row starter Ismail, and Haggerty - after mugging Jack Bartholomew (Lanan Racing) at the start - in pursuit. As Palmer calmly assumed control up front to win by 6.5 seconds, the battle for runner-up was played out between Ismail and Haggerty all the way to the flag, with Ismail gamely holding his ground throughout and finishing a tenth of a second ahead of the Scot. Bartholomew was a further two second behind in fourth and Jackson one second behind him in fifth. Fonseca, Mealin, Ngebulana, Albert and Akhil Rabindra (Douglas Motor Sport) claimed the remaining top ten positions.
All in all, Comma's 18 year old star performer Palmer netted 88 points from the weekend, and with six race victories this season now to his credit – four more than any other driver – he has extended his lead at the head of the championship table to 69 points. That presents a formidable obstacle for second place driver, Mexico's Rodrigo Fonseca, or any other challenger to overcome in the races that remain. Tom Jackson's solid weekend consolidated him in third place, but the second highest points haul of the meeting (68) has elevated Haggerty from seventh to fourth in the table ahead of Newey who retains the fifth spot. Similarly, Albert holds station in sixth, but Mealin's run of indifferent form sees him drop from fourth to seventh. Bartholomew stays eighth, but a healthy 60 points from Brands Hatch (third highest of the weekend) sees Ismail leap from seventeenth to ninth. In tenth place, Urrutia also improves his championship ranking.
Comma is Technical Partner to the Duo BRDC Formula 4 championship. In addition to sponsoring Will Palmer in the 24 race series, Comma supplies engine lubricants, coolants and maintenance chemicals to all teams competing in the championship. Visit the excellent BRDC Formula 4 website at www.formula4.com to keep up with full results, race reports, information and features about the championship.