As BRDC Formula 4 revs up at Donington Park, it’s Will Palmer who remains the man to beat at the end of free practice on Thursday. He topped all four sessions to set a best of 1:29.160 in the second.
Palmer knows he goes into the weekend with a good chance of clinching the title one round early. The gap to second placed Tom Jackson means that he needs 11 more points than the Chris Dittmann Racing driver to ensure he leaves the weekend with an unassailable gap.
It became clear that Palmer’s closest competitor was once again his team mate Harri Newey. The young 17 year old was the only other driver to drop below the 1 minute 30 second mark as the rest of the field once again play catch up.
Newey, like series rival Jackson, achieved a string of podiums at Snetterton and will be well placed to take the title fight to his team-mate as he looks to improve on his single race one pole position.
Behind the HHC Motorsport pair was Ameya Vaidyanathan who looks on course for a strong weekend after a string of mediocre results, that sees him lie seventeenth in the standings. However; the Indian did end the final sessions with red flags after he stopped out on track with 12 minutes remaining.
He was the cause of one of a number of red flags that flew over the course of the day. The most notable had been in the second session when championship contender Rodrigo Fonseca stopped with 10 minutes to go. The session ended up being restarted with Palmer setting his best time of the day. Fonseca meanwhile struggled to make an impact, with a best session finish of seventh.
Other impressive performances from Ciaran Haggerty and rookie Omar Ismail also saw them near the front of the standings with Ismail hoping to have a clean weekend having qualified well in recent races, but unable to convert them to many podiums. Jack Bartholomew also remained competitive throughout.