• Wins for Lando Norris and Sandy Mitchell with Ford EcoBoost power
• Dramas for Dan Ticktum, who loses championship lead to Ricky Collard
THRUXTON 10 MAY, 2015 – Thruxton’s bumper BTCC crowd was treated to a virtuoso display by the young chargers of the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship today, with Lando Norris snatching a last-lap victory for Carlin in a breathless eighth round, from 10th on the grid, and Sandy Mitchell repeating his stylish Saturday performance to dominate round nine.
Mitchell led home Ricky Collard to make it a TRS Arden team 1-2, with Collard’s result promoting him to the championship lead after Dan Ticktum suffered a double retirement.
Round 8 report
Thruxton’s thousands of spectators were treated to a brilliant show-opening display of tense and exciting racing by the young stars of the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship at Thruxton this morning. They staged a superb slipstreaming battle throughout the 20-minute epic, with three different leaders, dozens of overtakes and an outcome uncertain until the final lap.
In the end it was 15-year-old Lando Norris who emerged on top, the Carlin racer battling through from 10th on the grid. The Somerset star hit the top three by mid-distance, battled past Brazilian Matheus Leist for second four laps from the end, and then deprived Brazil’s other talent, Rafael Martins, of victory and the £1000 winner’s cheque on the final tour.
The super-fast Hampshire circuit suited the power delivery of the Ford EcoBoost engine perfectly, allowing the field to exploit their FIA-accredited F4 chassis to the max. Martins stole the initiative at the lights, getting a better blast-off than did pole man and championship leader Dan Ticktum, with Carlin’s Colton Herta slotting in behind him to push Ticktum back to third. Dan swiftly recovered to regain third from the American by the end of the opening lap, and then outdragged SWB Motorsport man Martins up Woodham Hill at the end of tour two to move into the lead.
Ticktum held top spot for another lap before he was slowed by fuel surge causing his engine to switch into ‘limp mode’, with Martins regaining the lead, now with Double R’s Leist and JTR man Dan Baybutt filling his mirrors. By the seventh lap Martins had a 0.6s lead, with Baybutt past Leist for second and closing in on the leader. Dan narrowed the leader’s advantage to nothing by the time they reached Woodham Hill, but Martins defended well and, as Baybutt attempted a right-then-left manoeuvre, he clipped the rear of the SWB car and spun into the weeds.
Rafael’s problems were far from over: first he had his countryman Leist clambering all over him and then, after four laps fending off Matheus, he found the mercurial Norris right on his tail. Lando had made steady progress through the pack to hit fourth spot by lap seven, which became third when Baybutt spun; it took him five laps to catch and pass Leist, a move executed through Village on lap 12. Two laps from the end Norris nosed ahead of Martins, a move that Rafa brilliantly responded to two corners later to regain the lead, before succumbing to Lando’s continuing assaults through the Complex on the final lap.
Meanwhile, Saturday victor Sandy Mitchell, who started seventh, was on a charge. He broke his day-old lap record on lap eight and moved ahead of Leist for third three laps from the end. Within sight of the chequered flag he followed Norris’s example and found a way past Martins up Woodham Hill to secure second place, a second adrift of the victor.
Martins held on for third to collect his maiden overall podium finish (and second in the Rookie class behind Mitchell), with Ricky Collard seizing fourth from Leist’s grasp two laps from the end. Just 0.4s covered the second to fourth place finishers. Herta completed the top six, ahead of Enaam Ahmed (Arden), Tarun Reddy (Double R) and Darius Karbaley, a top-10 finisher for the second race in succession for Falcon Motorsport. Sennan Fielding’s JHR Developments machine claimed 10th, with James Pull, a retiree for JTR yesterday, 11th and Louise Richardson completing the top 12 for Richardson Racing.
Winner Lando Norris “It was hard, particularly with the tail winds around the back of the circuit. To come from 10th on the grid to win is pretty amazing – I think it’s my best win yet, better than Brands. I had to time it right…”
Second, Sandy Mitchell “It’s been a good weekend so far, and it’s good to get a solid result when I started quite far back on the grid. I didn’t get the best start and dropped back a bit but the car really came on strong at the end. I’m really happy with second.”
Third, Rafael Martins “I am pleased with third but a little disappointed. The problem for me at the end was that my front wing came loose, I don’t know why. It slowed me a little.”
Round 9 report
Just as he did on Saturday, 15-year-old Sandy Mitchell showed his MSA Formula rivals the way around the Thruxton circuit this afternoon, leading for very nearly the whole of the live-televised finale to claim the second victory of his car-racing career. His team-mate Ricky Collard followed him home to make it a TRS Arden 1-2, a result which puts Collard on top of the championship table after erstwhile leader Dan Ticktum again suffered mechanical issues.
Sandy started from the pole again and made a better start than he did yesterday to claim the lead into Allard, but Sennan Fielding (JHR Developments) made a rocketship getaway also from P4 to slot ahead of Collard and the Carlin car of Lando Norris before passing Mitchell half-way around the lap. But Sandy was not to be denied and slipstreamed Fielding up Woodham lead to regain control before the lap’s end. Sandy crossed the line four-tenths ahead, and that was as close as anyone would get to him for the rest of the race.
Norris attacked Fielding all the way around lap two, passing him next time around to secure second, with Sennan then pushed back to fifth by Collard and Matheus Leist’s Double R car. It didn’t take long for Collard to take the fight to Norris, and by the seventh lap he was through, executing a deft pass down Lando’s inside at Church. Five laps later Norris regained the position at Cobb, only for Collard to repass up Woodham Hill and be followed through by Leist, pushing Lando back to fourth.
Norris regained a position from Leist on the penultimate lap, and crossed the line for third just six-tenths behind Collard, with Mitchell a comfortable four-and-a-half seconds in the clear. Leist collected fourth, with a delighted Petru Florescu a season-best fifth (and second in the Rookie class behind Mitchell) for Carlin.
Winner Sandy Mitchell “I came here knowing that I had the speed and just hoping that I could turn that into some results, and now I have. It’s never easy leading a race, you always have to have maximum focus the whole time, but everything went well and I can’t wait for the next race now. Everything has gone really well with the car this weekend, the chassis and the EcoBoost engine have been perfect.”
Second, Ricky Collard “Championship leader… wow, that’s a great result. Obviously it’s a shame for Dan; I would have like to have had a battle with him. The team have done such a great job, and this is a 1-2, which makes it a bit special. We are going to keep pushing for wins and now we are in the championship lead it’s more important than ever to keep our heads down and focus on that.”
Fifth, Petru Florescu “Finally! It’s good to get a strong finish. But I was lucky because the cars behind me nearly crashed into me, and I had to go straight to stay out of their way.”
Florescu was indeed fortunate to avoid the colliding cars of Fielding and James Pull (JTR), who clashed while disputing sixth place on the penultimate lap. Pull pulled off but Fielding was able to continue to eighth, behind the cars of Tarun Reddy (Double R) and Rafael Martins (SWB). Colton Herta collected ninth for Carlin, with Enaam Ahmed 10th for TRS Arden. Jack Barlow and Louise Richardson completed the top 12.
Dan Baybutt’s race ended after just a lap after a tap from behind sent him off track; he and Pull were joined in retirement by Jack Butel (SWB) and by Dan Ticktum, who suffered a recurrence of the fuel surge issue which blighted his earlier race today.
MSA Formula – Certified by FIA, Powered by Ford EcoBoost
Provisional results Thruxton 10 May 2015
Round 8: 16 laps / 37.70 miles
1 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin 20m 07.729s / 112.36mph
2 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden +1.027s
3 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB +1.257s
4 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden +1.300s
5 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R +1.428s
6 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin +2.377s
7 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden +5.399s
8 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R +5.645s
9 Darius KARBALEY / GBR / Falcon +5.823s
10 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +8.660s etc
Fastest lap Mitchell 1m 13.927s / 114.72mph Rec
Rookie class 1 Mitchell, 2 Martins, 3 Ahmed, 4 Karbaley; 5 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin, 6 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec, 7 Ameya VAIDYANATHAN / IND / JTR, 8 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR
Round 9: 16 laps / 37.70 miles
1 MITCHELL 20m 00.655s / 113.02mph
2 COLLARD +4.484s
3 NORRIS +5.120s
4 LEIST +5.858s
5 FLORESCU +11.768s
6 REDDY +13.609s
7 MARTINS +14.353s
8 FIELDING +14.866s
9 HERTA +19.654s
10 AHMED +20.223s etc
Fastest lap Collard 1m 14.495s / 113.85mph
Rookie class 1 Mitchell, 2 Florescu, 3 Martins, 4 Ahmed, 5 Smith, 6 Karbaley, 7 Vaidyanathan
Provisional championship standings
1 Collard 130 points, 2 Ticktum 120, 3 Norris 115, 4 Leist 105, 5 Mitchell 86, 6 James Pull 78 etc
Rookie class 1 Ticktum 171, 2 Mitchell 123, 3 Daniel Baybutt 120, 4 Ahmed 100, 5 Martins 88 etc