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  • Writer's pictureLIAM REDFORD

Alisha Palmowski overcomes adversity to return to the GB4 Championship podium

Alisha Palmowski bounced back from a challenging start to the weekend to score her third GB4 Championship podium of the season in race 3, after a heroic effort that saw her finish race two in ninth despite significant suspension damage.

Alisha Palmowski on the podium at Donington, 2024 GB4 Championship
Photo credits: JEP / DomGibbons

Alisha Palmowski bounced back from a challenging start to the weekend to score her third GB4 Championship podium of the season. The Elite Motorsport driver was unfortunate not to qualify higher than seventh after showing good speed in testing, before a gearbox issue led to a non-classified finish in race one. A heroic effort from Alisha then saw her finish race two in ninth despite significant suspension damage. Nonetheless, Palmowski showed great character to finish third in the reverse grid race at Donington Park to end the weekend on a high.

Palmowski arrived at Donington Park third in the GB4 Championship standings after standing on the podium in two of the opening five races. A pair of top-5 finishes at Silverstone, including a runner-up result in race one, ensured she remained in title contention at this early stage of the season. With this being the first of two visits to the Donington Park Grand Prix circuit for the young racers, it was important to start on the front foot and make full use of the pre-event test sessions.

The first three sessions took place on Thursday and Palmowski continued her impressive form by setting the second fastest time of the day, just a quarter of a second behind championship leader Linus Granfors. On Friday, Alisha’s quickest time in testing came during session one, which she topped, ending the day third fastest.

Qualifying would be the next challenge facing drivers, with Saturday morning’s session held in good conditions. Palmowski was extremely consistent during the fifteen-minute session with her fastest three lap times just one tenth of a second apart. This resulted in the Elite Motorsport driver setting the seventh fastest time, with her second fastest qualifying time placing her sixth.

Lining up seventh on the grid for race one, Palmowski lost a little time on the initial launch but settled into eighth position. She was already looking to gain positions on the opening lap but an issue with the gearbox halted her progress. As a result, Alisha was forced into the pits where the team made repairs. A great job from the Elite Motorsport crew saw Palmowski rejoin the race, albeit four laps down.

Her pace in clear air was extremely competitive and by rejoining the race, this also ensured that the repairs were completed successfully. Missing out on the fastest lap of the race by just half a second, Alisha took the checkered flag in 15th position, however she had not completed the required distance to be classified as a finisher.

Conditions were vastly different for the first race on Sunday with a wet track and drivers starting on the grooved tyres. Palmowski started from sixth position courtesy of her second fastest lap time in qualifying and it was a challenging start as contact from Leon Wilson on the run down to Redgate corner caused suspension damage to her car.

Alisha Palmowski, Elite Motorsport, Donington, 2024 GB4 Championship
Photo credits: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Dropping one position at the end of lap one, Callum Baxter was able to overtake on lap two as Alisha fought hard with a wounded car. The car was visibly crabbing on the right-rear corner and this hampered her progress both in the corners and on the straights, however a race finish would bank valuable championship points.

On lap four, both Chloe Grant and Jack Taylor overtook Palmowski as she attempted to set consistent times. Continuing to fight with the damage, Alisha enjoyed an excellent side-by-side battle with Megan Bruce before claiming position over her fellow female driver.

Despite losing out to Dan Hickey, the Fortec Motorsport driver was carrying a ten-second time penalty so re-passing her rival was not of paramount importance. Taking the checkered flag in 11th position, Palmowski was classified in ninth position following penalties and showing a determined fighting spirit to finish the race despite the significant damage to the suspension.

The third and final race at Donington Park was the full reverse grid race, with the track now predominantly dry although damp away from the racing line. Starting in ninth, Alisha made an excellent start which saw her gain three positions on the opening lap to move into sixth. On lap two, she was into the top-5 with a move on Dan Hickey and was immediately closing down on the drivers in the podium positions.

The Elite Motorsport driver showed superb pace and racecraft and after passing Jack Taylor for fourth, her first trip to the Donington Park rostrum was within reach. Although race leader Branden Templeton had established a sizeable gap, second place was still on offer and following a pass on Mayer Deonarine, Palmowski was now third. As she began to line up a move on Callum Baxter, the red flag was displayed as Chloe Grant found the gravel with Alisha classified in third.

It was a positive end to the weekend for the Elite Motorsport driver after two character building races. Alisha’s determination to continue with a damaged car in race two was admirable and the points she gained from this contest may prove valuable later in the season.

Palmowski was able to show her overtaking skills in race three and she will be aiming to return to the podium when the GB4 Championship returns after a summer break, with Snetterton the next venue on the weekend of 13th/14th July.

Alisha Palmowski, Elite Motorsport, Donington, 2024 GB4 Championship
Photo credits: Jakob Ebrey Photography

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11 hours ago

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