Palmer nets place in GP Shootout Final thanks to Festival triumph.

Chrissy Palmer has become the first driver to earn a place in the Final of this year's Grand Prix Shootout following his victory in last weekend's Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch.

The 19-year-old from West Sussex has enjoyed an excellent season, taking five wins and a further 11 top-six finishes in 2009 to end the year fourth in the Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain standings.

The category's form driver coming into the weekend's Festival, Palmer continued in the same vein that had seen him net double pole positions and race victories in the final regular season round at Castle Combe, grabbing second in his opening heat before finishing first in both the semi-final and the final.

Palmer, who also won the 2008 British Formula Ford Scholarship crown, said: "Obviously I'd like to think I could go along and win it but I'm just going to do the best I can. I drove a Formula Renault, which was the first time I'd been in a single seater, before competing in Ford so I've got some experience of slicks and wings. I've also been to Pembrey while in SAXMAX a couple of years ago so the track will be familiar. We've been looking at all sorts of options for next season and although a seat in Formula BMW Europe would be great, I'm not sure our budget would quite stretch that far. It's why Grand Prix Shootout is such a great opportunity."

Grand Prix Shootout Managing Director David Fleming (pictured left) added: "The Formula Ford Festival is a world renowned event which pitches some of the most promising young drivers against each other. For that reason it was only natural for GP Shootout to offer the winner a place in our final as it demonstrates our intention to set the very best drivers from junior motor sport on the road to Formula 1. I am confident that Chrissy falls into that bracket and wish him the very best of luck at Pembrey this November."

Palmer will be joined at the Welsh venue by eight other drivers selected from the swathes of hopefuls that have attended Grand Prix Shootout's first round assessment days at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground throughout 2009. The nine finalists will have one last chance to impress a judging panel comprising, amongst others, USF1 chief Peter Windsor and F1 driver coach Rob Wilson, when they take to the track in a Raikkonen Robertson Racing-prepared Formula BMW Europe car. The eventual winner will then receive a fully funded drive in the 2010 series.

Just two more first round assessment days remain -- November 4/5 -- for drivers bidding for a place in the 2009 Final on November 23-25.

-credit: gpso