Even after a bittersweet debut in single seater racing at Silverstone, Omar was feeling confident going into the race weekend, having dominated the Friday practice along with (championship leader) Will Palmer, and Harrison Newey (son of Legendary F1 designer Adrian).
Qualifying looked familiar at the top 3, with Ismail, Palmer and Newey at the top, however it was Omar who took pole position with a faster time than any F4 car had posted around Snetterton, 0.210s clear of 2nd place Will Palmer.
“I was quite surprised when I came across the start/finish line and saw I had such a quick lap time on my dashboard. 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 Race 1, Omar made a good getaway and held the lead in a dramatic first lap, however Will Palmer didn’t allow Omar 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, forcing Palmer to glance at his own mirrors and giving Omar the opportunity to pull away. This allowed Ismail to take a lights-to-flag victory, his maiden race win in his 2nd ever race weekend, and also giving his team, Chris Dittmann Racing their first ever F4 race win.
“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 8 reversing their grid position for race 2, Omar started a damp race 2 in 8th place on wet tyres, however he track dried quickly mid race, and so people on slicks were a lot faster than people on wets. This allowed Omar’s team mate Tom Jackson (on slicks) to win Race 2 and give the team their 2nd race win in F4. However Omar was still able to pull a good result finishing 7th, quite high up compared to his competitors on wets.
Omar stared a treacherously wet Race 3 on the front row alongside Harrison Newey and made a good getaway, overtaking Newey at the start but being overtaken by Will Palmer who had a lightning getaway off the line. Ismail followed Palmer closely for the first lap and then was overtaken by Newey on lap 2. As the front 3 were pulling away, Omar’s car aquaplaned and spun uncontrollably, dropping down the field. Omar kept his focus, however and managed to make a recovery into 5th pace.
“I was disappointed with how race 3 went. 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.”