Alisha Palmowski returns to the podium at Donington Park
Alisha Palmowski continued to close in on her first victory in Ginetta Junior Championship, as the young talent added another podium finish to her tally in Donington Park - her fourth of the season.
Alisha Palmowski claimed her fourth podium result of the season in the Ginetta Junior Championship at Donington Park. The Elite Motorsport driver displayed superb speed throughout the weekend and should feel unlucky not to add further to her podium tally.
After topping the times in testing, Palmowski qualified second and scored a runner-up finish in race one, before two action-packed races on Sunday resulted in a best finish of seventh.
Coming into the weekend, Alisha was aiming to add to her three podium finishes to date and push towards her maiden victory. It was a perfect start to the weekend for the Elite Motorsport driver who set the fastest time in Friday’s test sessions, lapping over four tenths of a second quicker than second place driver and championship leader Freddie Slater.
Qualifying took place on Saturday morning with drivers released at prescribed intervals to prevent slipstreaming, with just three flying laps permitted. This provides an added challenge for Ginetta Junior drivers who require speed and precision to set fast lap times while remaining within track limits. Alisha had a superb session, improving on each of her three laps whist showing excellent consistency. Her fastest lap time placed her second, with her second fastest time also securing her a front row start for race two.
Lining up second for race one, Alisha dropped in behind Finn Harrison after the opening lap, falling to third, before regaining the position on lap three. Palmowski showed superb speed in the opening stages of the race and closed down on leader Freddie Slater, before taking the lead on lap five with a fantastic move. On both laps six and seven, the leaders were engaged in a brilliant battle, running side-by-side for multiple corners with Alisha maintaining the lead.
On lap eight, Slater regained the lead with a move at Redgate corner which saw Palmowski drop to third. As the lead pack turned from three drivers into seven, the action continued with contact from Charlie Hart dropping Alisha back to sixth as the final lap begun. Nonetheless, Alisha fought back well and moved into fourth with a great move at the Old Hairpin and defended this position to the line. With track limit penalties for drivers ahead, Palmowski finished race one in second and was unlucky not to claim her first win in the championship.
"Strong race from our side, leading multiple laps of the race, with a hit from behind with a lap to go ultimately costing us the race win", Palmowski commented.
Lining up second on the grid for race two based on the second fastest times in qualifying, Alisha dropped to fourth on the first lap with some typically close-quarters racing in the opening exchanges. Palmowski held this position as the safety car was deployed on lap two, before Alisha made a fantastic restart on lap six to set the fastest second sector of any driver.
The Elite Motorsport driver was shuffled back to sixth on lap seven, when she started to suffer from brake issues - before contact dropped her to eighth the following lap. Alisha rallied well in the closing stages to pass Henry Joslyn and claim seventh place at the line, claiming valuable championship points in the process.
Starting the final race of the weekend from seventh, Alisha was determined to make up positions and aim for another podium finish. Gaining two positions on the opening lap, Palmowski was already in touch with the leading group. Moving into fourth on lap three with a pass on Reza Seewooruthun, the podium was within touching distance for the Elite Motorsport driver. As Alisha continued to bridge the gap to the drivers ahead, contact from Chase Fernandez on lap seven sent Palmowski into the gravel at the Old Hairpin which brought her race to a premature end.
Despite not achieving the results she deserved at Donington Park, it was another strong showing from Alisha who once again demonstrated race-winning pace while driving smartly throughout. Palmowski now sits fifth in the overall championship standings, with the Ginetta Junior drivers back in action in less than a week at Silverstone.
"Luck wasn’t on our side in race two where we suffered with an unexpected, developing brake issue which resulted in a lack of pace meaning we took the chequered flag in 7th", she explained. "We had a good start to race three, progressing up to 4th before some unfortunate contact led to a DNF", she added.
"Not the results that reflected our pace or what we deserved but we’ll be back stronger at Silverstone!"
The event will mark the first ever Ginetta G-Fest with six races taking place across both the Grand Prix and National layouts, providing a great opportunity for Alisha to claim her first ever victory.