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Maiden BRDC Formula 4 win for Ismail at Snetterton

Saturday, July 11 2015

Omar Ismail claimed a lights-to-flag victory to take his maiden BRDC Formula 4 win, in only his second race weekend in the series. The 16-year-old resisted the heavy pressure being applied by Will Palmer throughout the race to finish 1.351s ahead at the end of the 10-lap race.

Harri Newey, who dropped to fourth behind Tom Jackson on the opening lap, recovered to claim third, and nearly overtook his team-mate Palmer for second on the last lap. Strong drives from Michael O’Brien and Jordan Albert saw them claim fourth and fifth in the first race of the weekend in Norfolk respectively.

After an intriguing qualifying session, it was Solihull-based Ismail who led the field away as the lights went out to start the race. He made a good getaway to fend off the challenge of Palmer into Riches but further back, Palmer’s team-mate Newey couldn’t hold on to his grid position of third and was relegated to fourth by Tom Jackson.

Behind the front four, a number of incidents occurred with Sisa Ngebulana running into the side of Ciaran Haggerty, resulting in bodywork damage for the young Scot. Further ahead, the Lanan Racing pair of Chris Mealin and Jack Bartholomew both suffered damage, along with Fernando Urrutia who had started fifth. Bartholomew and Urrutia exited the race with terminal damage whilst Mealin resumed a few laps later.

Newey quickly regained his third position with a move on Jackson as Will Palmer began to close on to the back of the Chris Dittmann Racing machine of Omar Ismail, the gap being reduced to just 0.346s after four laps. The 18-year-old began looking for a way past but Ismail defended stoutly. Hillspeed’s Ameya Vaidyanthan, who had risen to fifth due to the misfortune of those ahead, soon found himself tumbling down the order too, promoting Michael O’Brien to fifth.

With clear air, Newey began to set a string of fastest laps and he reeled in the leading pair ahead. Tom Jackson in fourth suffered an unfortunate puncture which required a pit-stop, promoting others up the order. Jordan Albert moved into sixth, from 12th on the grid, and then managed to make his way past South African Sisa Ngebulana for fifth.

With two laps remaining, Ismail opened up his lead to over one second and Palmer was soon forced to glance in his mirrors, wary of the challenge of his HHC Motorsport team-mate Newey behind. The front three held station for the final tour and it was Ismail that saw the chequered flag first to secure his maiden BRDC Formula 4 triumph. The trophies were handed out to the trio by Lotus F1 Team Third and Reserve Driver Jolyon Palmer, with the 2014 GP2 Champion also receiving a painting on the podium to commemorate his title-winning season last year.

Speaking on the podium, Ismail said: “The race was a lot tougher than what I was hoping for. I was aiming to just pull away and build a gap but Will drove a really good race and kept the gap really close. I had to defend a number of times but I managed to hang on to the win. Luckily, Harri was catching Will up but I kept pushing as I know how quick those guys are. A massive thanks to Kieren Clark and the Chris Dittmann Racing team for providing such a great car.”

Other impressive drives in the field including 23 Racing’s James Reveler, who claimed his best finish of the season with 10th, and the debut pairing of Marc Gonzalez and Joe Stables who drove well to finish 11th and 13th respectively. Following the race, Sisa Ngebulana was handed a 30-second penalty for avoidable contact and was classified as finishing 15th.

Akhil Rabindra, by virtue of his eighth place finish will start from pole in tomorrow's second race and he will be joined on the front row by Ecurie Ecosse Young Driver Ciaran Haggerty.

Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship - Snetterton - Race one

1. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, 10 Laps
2. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, +1.351s
3. Harri Newey, HHC Motorsport, +1.872s
4. Michael O’Brien, Chris Dittmann Racing, +23.965s
5. Jordan Albert, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +25.782s
6. Rodrigo Fonseca, Lanan Racing, +42.473s
7. Ciaran Haggerty, Ecurie Ecosse/GBR, +42.933s
8. Akhil Rabindra, Douglas Motorsport, +44.020s
9. Faisal Al Zubair, Hillspeed, +44.848s
10. James Reveler, 23 Racing, +46.108s
11. Marc Gonzalez, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +48.181s
12. Ameya Vaidyanathan, Hillspeed, +48.679s
13. Joe Stables, JR Racing, +51.394s
14. Jack Lang, Lang Sport/Gorse Motors, +52.756s
15. Sisa Ngebulana, HHC Motorsport, +57.434s*
16. Tom Jackson, Chris Dittmann Racing, +1 Lap
DNF. Zubair Hoque, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +3 Laps
NC. Chris Mealin, Lanan Racing, +3 Laps
DNF. Fernando Urrutia, Douglas Motorsport, 0 Laps
DNF. Jack Bartholomew, Lanan Racing, 0 Laps

*Car No.37 handed a 30-second time penalty for avoidable contact

Race two begins at 10:25am and you can keep up to date with all the action in real-time with live timing and updates on the official Formula 4 website.