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Jackson takes stunning win in second BRDC F4 Snetterton race

Sunday, July 12 2015

Tom Jackson used slick tyres in changeable conditions to carve his way through the field to claim his maiden Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship victory. In a topsy-turvy second race of the weekend at Snetterton, the 18-year-old took victory having started from 16th on the grid.

Rodrigo Fonseca finished second, missing out on victory after Jackson had passed him on the last-lap, but the Mexican held off his hard-charging team-mate Jack Bartholomew who rounded out the podium in third. Ciaran Haggerty and Jordan Albert completed the top-five.

Early morning rain at the Norfolk track had left the circuit slippery, but not completely wet, as the 20 BRDC Formula 4 cars headed out to the grid. It left the drivers with a difficult tyre decision to make and a number of competitors, including Chris Dittmann Racing's Tom Jackson and Lanan Racing's Jack Bartholomew, starting from 16th and 19th respectively, took the gamble with slicks.

The majority of the drivers at the front however played it safe and opted for wet Pirelli's, including pole-sitter Akhil Rabindra and his front-row partner Ciaran Haggerty. The lights went out to begin the race and it was the Sean Walkinshaw Racing car of Jordan Albert in fourth that made the best getaway, moving into the lead of the race.

Rabindra held on to second with Haggerty third, and Harri Newey moved into fourth from sixth on the grid. On the second lap, Haggerty made his way past Rabindra and began hunting down Jordan Albert for the lead, the gap between the two reduced to 0.969s by the end of the circuit. Further back, Chris Mealin enjoyed a strong start to move up to 11th from 18th whilst Tom Jackson initially struggled to get to grips with the conditions on his dry tyres, spinning off the track but recovering without losing too much time.

Ecurie Ecosse youngster Haggerty got a good run on Albert down the Senna Straight to start lap three and he pulled off a beautiful move around the outside of the Sean Walkinshaw Racing man at Riches to take the lead. Harri Newey came under sustained pressure from Rodrigo Fonseca and the Mexican racer was soon ahead and then quickly closed on Rabindra, overtaking him at Nelson to claim third.

As the cars continued to circulate, a dry line began appearing and those on slick tyres began to set fastest laps, gaining over four seconds on their wet-tyre shod rivals. By lap five, Jackson was up to 11th and Bartholomew 13th, but they soon began rapidly progressing through the field. At the head of the field, Fonseca quickly closed the gap to Albert in second and began harrying the 18-year-old from Silverstone as they completed their sixth tour.

Championship leader Will Palmer meanwhile pitted from sixth and changed to dry tyres, with everyone behind him moving up a position. Jackson and Bartholomew then began to pick off people at will, up to seventh and ninth by the end of lap seven, and fourth and sixth at the completion of the eighth circuit. The fight at the front continued unabated and Fonseca made his move past Albert to take second and then caught Haggerty on the penultimate lap, overtaking the Scot down the inside at Brundle to assume the lead.

As the race headed towards its conclusion, the pairing of Jackson and Bartholomew were within touching distance of the leading trio and Jackson disposed of Albert on lap nine but still had significant work to do on the last lap. He passed Haggerty early on the final tour and quickly bridged the gap to Fonseca, crawling all over the back of the Lanan Racing car. Bartholomew cleared Albert and then Haggerty too as Fonseca desperately tried to hold off the red-and-yellow car of Jackson; the Maidstone-based racer dramatically slipping through at Nelson.

He completed the final few corners and took the chequered flag 0.893s ahead of Fonseca in second, who managed to fend off team-mate Bartholomew by just 0.160s as the pair crossed the line, 16-year-old Bartholomew taking his first podium in the series.

Haggerty and Albert finished fourth and fifth with a good drive from Chris Mealin on wet tyres netting him sixth, having started 18th. The top-10 was completed by race one winner Omar Ismail, local driver Jack Lang and the Hillspeed pairing of Ameya Vaidyanathan and Faisal Al Zubair.

The top-three were presented with their trophies by British GT driver and BRDC member Jonny Adam. A delighted Tom Jackson said: "I can't even remember how I took the lead! Rodrigo was pushing really hard to keep the win but the last few laps were just absolutely crazy. I even spun early in the race so I did think my race was over. Me and my Dad made a great call to go for slicks and luckily it paid off. I had nothing to lose but I did think about changing tyres after the green flag lap but I stuck to my guns and took the win."

Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship - Snetterton - Race two

1. Tom Jackson, Chris Dittmann Racing, 10 Laps
2. Rodrigo Fonseca, Lanan Racing, +0.893s
3. Jack Bartholomew, Lanan Racing, +1.053s
4. Ciaran Haggerty, Ecurie Ecosse/GBR, +5.115s
5. Jordan Albert, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +7.427s
6. Chris Mealin, Lanan Racing, +11.437s
7. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, +11.522s
8. Jack Lang, Lang Sport/Gorse Motors, +11.754s
9. Ameya Vaidyanathan, Hillspeed, +15.950s
10. Faisal Al Zubair, Hillspeed, +18.832s
11. Michael O'Brien, Chris Dittmann Racing, +19.688s
12. Fernando Urrutia, Douglas Motorsport, +23.009s
13. Akhil Rabindra, Douglas Motorsport, +27.626s
14. Zubair Hoque, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +28.505s
15. Harri Newey, HHC Motorsport, +28.607s
16. James Reveler, 23 Racing, +32.568s
17. Joe Stables, JR Racing, +52.156s
18. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, +1m05.264s
DNF. Sisa Ngebulana, HHC Motorsport, +4 Laps
DNF. Marc Gonzalez, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +7 Laps

The third and final BRDC Formula 4 race of the weekend takes place at 15:10pm, with Harri Newey on pole position by virtue of his fastest lap in Saturday's race one. He will be joined on the front row by race one winner Omar Ismail.