CHRISSY PALMER WINS THE FESTIVAL


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Chrissy Palmer won the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch on Sunday in what turned out to be a historic day for the BRSCC’s ‘blue riband’ event.

Shortly after Chrissy took the chequered flag, with a near faultless drive in the Final, over in Brazil Jenson Button secured the points to become the Formula 1 champion and thus the first Festival winner (1998) to go on to achieve the highest honour. Another Festival winner, Mark Webber (1996) won the Brazilian Grand Prix, to round off a fantastic Festival weekend.

Dutchman Rogier De Wit was on pole for the Duratec final, but it was his countryman Liroy Stuart who got away quickest to take the lead as they headed into Paddock. It was a position the driver from Bemmel in The Netherlands held until the 12 lap when he finally conceded to the relentless pressure from Chrissy Palmer. Once ahead the 18 year old from West Marden in West Sussex drove a serene race to the line in his Jamun prepared Mygale, which was the same manufacturer with which Button achieved his Festival victory eleven years beforehand. Liroy Stuart held onto second place and MSA Formula Ford Champion James Cole took the final place on the podium.

Palmer’s pot haul didn’t stop with the Neil Shanahan Trophy as he was also awarded the John Nicol Memorial Trophy for the most outstanding British driver and the Roger Pedrick Trophy for the highest placed Englishman. Along with James Cole and Ben Barker, Chrissy also scored points for the England team in the Festival World Cup rankings and the trio came out on top ahead of a strong Dutch challenge.

The Kent Final was yet another showdown between season long protagonists Rory Butcher and Scott Malvern. The young Scot from Kirkcaldy was on pole and took a ‘lights to flag’ victory in his Van Diemen RF92 ahead of his main rival. Neville Smyth represented an excellent Irish turnout with third place.

The Zetec Final was probably the closest of the three. 2008 Zetec winner Neil Tofts was on pole in his Mygale SJ04 but had to surrender the lead to young Finnish driver Sebastian Nummi on lap 3. The Finn looked like he might get away but Tofts used all his Brands Hatch experience to reel Nummi back in and re-take the lead on lap 12 of the 20 lap final. Once ahead, Tofts defended his position stoutly to take back-to-back Zetec titles. John Whitbourn from Burgess Hill took third with an impressive drive.

In the supporting races, Patrick Sherrington won the Sports 2000 Historic race from Chris Mole and Mike Johns. Jason Richardson and Ken Bateman won Classes A & B respectively of the Competition Car Insurance Ford Fiesta Championship. Both drivers improving on their second place finishes in the Saturday race.

In the Sports 2000 Duratecs Mike Jenvey won from pole position with Richard Johnson and Miles Griffiths second and third. Due to the huge number of entries in the Competition Car Insurance Ford Fiesta Championship, the Class C ST’s had their own stand alone races. David Ellesley from Ipswich improved on his second place on Saturday to take victory from Terence Clark and Richard Kemp.

Chris Needham’s Dallara F302 headed home the BRSCC Formula 3 Cardinus Championship field for the second day running with Mark Terry and Mark Harrison also repeating their podium places from the previous day. In the final support race Oliver Stirling won the Sports 2000 Pinto race and in doing so claimed the championship title.