Home Formula 4British F4 Macintyre tops British F4’s Snetterton practice, Matteo De Palo joins grid

Macintyre tops British F4’s Snetterton practice, Matteo De Palo joins grid

by Ida Wood

Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

William Macintyre was fastest in British Formula 4 practice at Snetterton on Friday, as Matteo De Palo joined the grid with Argenti Motorsport.

The Italian karting graduate made his F4 debut with a winning cameo in the Formula Winter Series this February, driving for Campos Racing. He then returned to the team for a full Spanish F4 campaign, and sits third in the standings with one win after the opening round.

“Woah! Surprise, surprise, lads. I’m gonna race the British F4 round at Snetterton this weekend,” was how De Palo announced his British F4 cameo.

The first 45-minute practice session took place early in the morning, and Hitech GP’s Macintyre was the initial pacesetter.

Rodin Carlin’s Louis Sharp was first to lap sub-1m50s, but after a few minutes Macintyre responded to reclaim first place. His team-mate Kanato Le was next to the top, by 0.030 seconds, and Fortec Motorsports’ Aiden Neate reduced that advantage to 0.020s before FP1 was red flagged.

After it restarted it took a while before laptime improvements came in, and it was JHR Developments’ Deagen Fairclough who eventually usurped Le.

At this point the track was busy, with many drivers able to benefit from a slipstream if they were not being hampered by traffic, and the order changed multiple times.

Neate went fastest, then with two successive improvements Macintyre lowered the pace into the 1m48s. His team-mate James Piszcyk went even faster, then Fortec’s James Higgins moved ahead before being shuffled back to second a few moments later by Neate.

Another improvement of 0.01s from Neate for a 1m48.222s put him 0.171s clear, as Higgins went no faster in his remaining laps.

FP2 took place in the afternoon and Argenti’s Patrick Heuzenroeder led the first third of the session, and after improving several times reached a 1m48.764s benchmark.

Neate then moved ahead with a 1m48.759s, before De Palo posted a 1m48.732s two minutes later. De Palo found another tenth of a second to keep him on top for almost 10 minutes, and the driver who usurped him was Chris Dittmann Racing’s Daniel Guinchard. He not only became the first driver to beat the FP1 benchmark, but also the first to lap in the 1m47s.

Second place was shared between multiple drivers in the minutes after, then Macintyre set a 1m47.752s with 11 minutes to go. That was enough to end the day on top, as FP2 was red flagged with five minutes left to run.

Carlin’s Dion Gowda got within 0.085s of Macintyre, Le’s penultimate lap put him 0.164s behind in third, and Guinchard ended up fourth.

Higgins, Aqil Alibhai (Virtuosi Racing) and Fairclough failed to improve on their FP1 pace.

Free practice results
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 William Macintyre Hitech GP 1m47.752s 33
2 Dion Gowda Carlin 1m47.837s +0.085s 34
3 Kanato Le Hitech GP 1m47.916s +0.164s 33
4 Daniel Guinchard Chris Dittmann Racing 1m47.956s +0.204s 35
5 Aiden Neate Fortec Motorsports 1m48.198s +0.446s 37
6 James Piszcyk Hitech GP 1m48.287s +0.535s 36
7 Louis Sharp Carlin 1m48.330s +0.578s 33
8 James Higgins Fortec Motorsports 1m48.393s +0.641s 38
9 Gabriel Stilp Hitech GP 1m48.508s +0.756s 33
10 Matteo De Palo Argenti Motorsport 1m48.634s +0.882s 37
11 Gustav Jonsson Chris Dittmann Racing 1m48.670s +0.918s 34
12 Patrick Heuzenroeder Argenti Motorsport 1m48.764s +1.012s 40
13 Aqil Alibhai Virtuosi Racing 1m48.815s +1.063s 37
14 Deagen Fairclough JHR Developments 1m49.055s +1.303s 36
15 Kai Daryanani Virtuosi Racing 1m49.082s +1.330s 25
16 Jack Sherwood Chris Dittmann Racing 1m49.117s +1.365s 35
17 Sonny Smith JHR Developments 1m49.123s +1.371s 32
18 Josh Irfan Carlin 1m49.193s +1.441s 33
19 Noah Lisle Carlin 1m49.267s +1.515s 35
20 Dowe Dedecker Virtuosi Racing 1m49.536s +1.784s 38
21 Jaden Pariat Argenti Motorsport 1m49.715s +1.963s 37
22 Isaac Barashi Argenti Motorsport 1m49.717s +1.965s 35