Hat-trick of podium finishes for Alisha Palmowski at Brands Hatch
"It’s the closest we’ve been to a race win" – Alisha Palmowski has enjoyed her career best weekend in the Ginetta Junior Championship by claiming three podium finishes at Brands Hatch, also showing exceptional consistency in qualifying.
Alisha Palmowski has enjoyed her career best weekend in the Ginetta Junior Championship by claiming three podium finishes at Brands Hatch. After showing exceptional consistency in qualifying, the Elite Motorsport driver finished third in the opening race of the weekend. Sunday’s two races brought a pair of superb second place results, with Palmowski missing out on her first victory by a combined margin of less than half a second.
Alisha has been a consistent frontrunner in the Ginetta Junior Championship and although not always achieving the finishes she has deserved in recent meetings, she was aiming to add her to podium tally at Brands Hatch. The Elite Motorsport driver was straight on the pace in Friday’s test session on the Indy circuit, finishing the day third fastest overall and less than two tenths of a second away from the outright quickest lap.
Tackling the technical Grand Prix layout in qualifying, Palmowski aimed to replicate her impressive pace from the previous day. Alisha’s two fastest times were extremely consistent, with less than one hundredth of a second separating them leading to a third place starting spot for both races one and two. Setting the overall fastest first sector of any driver in qualifying, Palmowski was confident of translating this speed into strong race finishes.
After securing a second row starting position, Alisha was targeting a podium finish and made a great start to hold her third position at the end of lap one. The front three drivers began to break away from the field and were beginning to work together to hold down their podium positions. As the second group worked hard to catch up, a safety car was deployed on lap six with Palmowski continuing to hold an excellent third position.
As the race restarted, Alisha did well to hold off Luca Hopkinson with the R Racing driver pushing for a way through. Superbly defending from her rival on the final lap, Palmowski took the checkered flag in third, holding onto her seventh podium finish of the season by less than two tenths of a second.
Lining up third for race two on Sunday morning, Alisha was aiming to replicate her performance from the previous day and made an excellent start, moving up to second at the conclusion of lap one. The gap to leader Reza Seewooruthun was just two tenths of a second, and with a safety car deployed on lap two, this enabled Palmowski to mount her attack at the restart.
When the race resumed, the leading drivers began to break away from the pack and had opened up a gap of almost four seconds to her nearest challenger by lap eight. Continuing to apply pressure in the final laps, The Elite Motorsport driver equalled her best result of the season to finish second, just two tenths of a second behind Seewooruthun.
Courtesy of her runner-up finish from race two, Alisha started second in the final race of the weekend and did well to hold her position on the initial start. Once again, the leading drivers attempted to break clear of the chasing pack with Palmowski driving smartly to hold behind Seewooruthun. Setting overall fastest first sectors on laps five and seven, Alisha remained in hot pursuit of her rival as the safety car was deployed.
A one lap shootout followed and although coming narrowly close to her maiden victory, Palmowski claimed her second runner-up finish of the day, missing out on the race win by just over a tenth of a second.
Brands Hatch has been a kind track to Alisha in her short racing career to date and she continued this form with a season’s best weekend in the Ginetta Junior Championship. By scoring a podium finish in every race, this underlined both her speed and consistency, with Palmowski racing smartly to avoid incident.
"It was a really strong weekend for us with consistently strong pace", Alisha told us. "We managed to achieve three out of three podiums and challenged for the race win in all races. It’s the closest we’ve been to a race win so fingers crossed we can achieve that at the season finale at Donington next month!"
These results have promoted the Elite Motorsport driver to sixth place in the championship standings, within touching distance of fourth with one round remaining. The final meeting of the Ginetta Junior Championship season will take place at Donington Park on the weekend of October 21st/22nd.