IT WAS a weekend to remember for teenager Omar Ismail after he claimed his maiden race win in round 11 of the Duo BRDC F4 Championship at Snetterton.
The 15-year-old endured a bittersweet debut in single seater racing at Silverstone last weekend but he went into the weekend confident after dominating in practice on Friday along with championship leader Will Palmer and Harrison Newey, who is the son of legendary F1 designer Adrian.
All three battled it out in qualifying however it was Ismail who took pole position after finishing 0.210 seconds quicker than Palmer.
“I was quite surprised when I came across the finish line and saw I had such a quick lap time on my dashboard,” said Ismail. “It was brilliant though.
“I was slightly nervous heading into the session but I really didn’t expect to have such a good result.”
Having started on pole for the first race, Ismail made a good getaway and held the lead in a dramatic first lap.
However Palmer did not allow Ismail to pull a gap and challenged for the lead a number of times, forcing Ismail to defend stoutly throughout the race.
This allowed Harri Newey to catch up in third and with Palmer having to glance at his own mirrors, Ismail was able to pull away and win his first ever F4 race.
“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 (driver coach) Kieren Clark and the Chris Dittmann Racing team for providing such a great car.”
Due to the rule of the top eight reversing their grid position for race two, Ismail started at the back but was still able to make one place and finish in seventh.
He started a treacherously wet race three on the front row and made a good getaway by overtaking Newey at the start but he could not hold his position and eventually cross the finish line in fifth place.
“I was disappointed with how race three went,” Ismail added.
“Hopes were high considering the weekend we had and my starting position, but it was character building for me and I’m glad that I got some wet running in. As a whole, though, the weekend was fantastic and I have been proven not to be taken lightly.”