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Will Palmer completes maiden GP3 weekend with P13 after brave tyre gamble
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29 October 2017
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Saturday perfection for Will in BRDC F4 season finale

It was another perfect Saturday for Will Palmer as the 2015 BRDC Formula 4 Champion claimed pole position, race one victory and fastest lap on the first day of the season-ending meeting at Brands Hatch.

Will claimed an imperious pole position in qualifying as he took top spot by over two-tenths of a second around the 1.2-mile Indy Circuit at Brands Hatch. The 20-minute session got underway in sunny conditions as 19 drivers took to the track.

After spending a number of laps warming up his Pirelli tyres, Will jumped to the top of the timing screens with a lap time of 45.361s, moving ahead of his HHC Motorsport team-mate Sisa Ngebulana. The order continually changed behind Will, with Ecurie Ecosse Young Driver Ciaran Haggerty moving into second before Ngebulana snatched it back, to move to within 0.201s of Will.

The BRDC Rising Star responded however and improved his best lap time to a 45.105s, which would prove the best lap in the 20-minute session, as he opened up the gap to over three-tenths of a second. The red flag flew with just under seven minutes remaining with Ngebulana in the gravel and when the session resumed, Fernando Urrutia, Rodrigo Fonseca and Ciaran Haggerty all moved ahead of the South African, but couldn't come close to challenging Will's time. That meant that the 18-year-old lined up for race one with Urrutia for company on the front-row with Fonseca and Haggerty occupying third and fourth.

As the lights went out to start the race, Will make a good start but came under pressure from fellow front-row starter Fernando Urrutia into Paddock Hill Bend. The Mexican edged ahead exiting the first turn but Will held firm and claimed the inside line for the next corner at Druids to retake the lead.

After three laps, Will had opened the gap to Urrutia to over one second and he then set about recording a series of fastest laps to extend his advantage yet further. By the midway point of the race, Will had opened up a lead of over five seconds, helped by the fastest lap of the race on the 14th circuit, a 45.393s, which was also a new lap record.

His relentless pursuit of a greater lead helped Will to head on to the final circuit with a lead of over nine seconds and he eventually came home 9.716s ahead of Fernando Urrutia in the 25-lap race. Urrutia's fellow Mexican Rodrigo Fonseca completed the podium in third. Ex-Formula One driver and BRDC member Max Chilton presented the trophies to the trio after the race.

Will said: "It felt really good. It is a great start to the weekend to take pole position and the win so I can't complain at all. Hopefully we can keep this form going across the whole of the weekend. The Indy Circuit is a bit different to other tracks as we are doing 25 laps a race even though the race time is the same. It does feel like a longer race because of that so it is important to keep your concentration and focus throughout.

"Once I had opened up a gap, I was treating each circuit like a qualifying lap and that worked. I'd love to go for the win in tomorrow's reverse-grid race as it is the one thing that has been missing from this year. That is the target but to get through to the podium would be a good result."

The Southwater driver's win puts him 141 points clear of Newey in second, with Newey extending his lead over Tom Jackson to 14 points. Ciaran Haggerty is a further 10 points adrift in fourth, with Fonseca's podium meaning he is 11 points behind the Scot in fifth.

Race two of the weekend gets underway at 11:20 tomorrow (Sunday) morning with the third race, the final one of the 2015 season, starting at 15:45.

Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship - Brands Hatch Indy - Race One

1. Will Palmer, HHC Motorsport, 25 Laps

2. Fernando Urrutia, Douglas Motorsport, +9.716s
3. Rodrigo Fonseca, Lanan Racing, +10.298s
4. Ciaran Haggerty, Ecurie Ecosse/GBR, +11.049s
5. Jordan Albert, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +12.380s
6. Sisa Ngebulana, HHC Motorsport, +15.292s
7. Jack Lang, Lang Sport/Gorse Motors, +18.399s
8. Harri Newey, HHC Motorsport, +18.903s
9. Jack Bartholomew, Lanan Racing, +23.615s
10. Chris Mealin, Lanan Racing, +23.967s
11. Ameya Vaidyanthan, Hillspeed, +24.276s
12. Faisal Al Zubair, Hillspeed, +24.419s
13. Tom Jackson, Chris Dittmann Racing, +24.924s
14. Akhil Rabindra, Douglas Motorsport, +25.217s
15. Hernan Fallas, Hillspeed, +26.116s
16. Zubair Hoque, Sean Walkinshaw Racing, +27.832s
17. Joe Stables, JR Racing, +32.939s
18. James Reveler, 23 Racing, +33.380s
DNF. Omar Ismail, Chris Dittmann Racing, 0 Laps

Latest Results

Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain
Race 2
1.G Alesi16 laps
2.A Hubert+2.077s
3.J Hughes+2.376s
4.J Correa+3.295s
5.D Boccolacci+3.593s
6.N Kari+3.959s
7.C Ilott+4.904s
8.S Laaksonen+5.544s
9.L Pulcini+6.103s
13.W Palmer+12.603s

Latest Eurocup Standings

1.S Fenestraz367.5 points
2.W Palmer298 points
3.R Shwartzman285 points
4.M Defourny255 points
5.G Aubry232 points
6.M Fewtrell164 points
7.D Ticktum134 points
8.Y Ye106.5 points
9.R Verschoor89 points
10.A Peroni72 points