- Championship leader Ricky Collard collects his second win of the season
- Sennan Fielding claims his and the JHR Developments team’s first MSA Formula victory
Lando Norris, Colton Herta, Matheus Leist and Dan Ticktum were the day’s additional podium visitors, with Rafael Martins and Ticktum the Rookie class victors.
Ricky Collard delivered as he promised after qualifying a ‘Collard special’ start to take control from the outset of the 10th round of the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship this afternoon. The TRS Arden driver outgunned pole man Lando Norris (Carlin) to lead into Old Hall corner; though Norris tried his hardest to find a way past him it was Collard still in front after 13 laps of dicing.
Ricky crossed the line four-tenths ahead of Lando to collect his second win of the season and extend his championship lead. The Hampshireman was delighted with his victory, not least because he had to cope with a lengthy safety car period and subsequent restart: “The Collard start is back again. That went perfectly and I knew that once I had got in front it would be so important to use my experience. I pushed really hard and built a gap, and then the safety car came out, which was a bit of a shame. The restart was really good though and while Lando caught me towards the end and I made a couple of mistakes, they weren’t big enough to let him get back past. Someone has to challenge Carlin and I think we are doing a pretty good job.”
Second-place was a disappointment for Norris, Carlin’s 15-year-old talent having wiped the board in Friday’s test sessions and claiming pole position in qualifying by a six-tenth margin.
Norris’s Carlin team-mate Colton Herta pulled off the overtake of the race to secure third, his maiden podium finish of the year. The American – youngest driver in the race – held fourth behind SWB Motorsport’s Rafael Martins up to the ninth lap, and lined the Brazilian up perfectly to slot ahead of him on lap 10. Colton went on to set the fastest lap in his pursuit of the leading duo, crossing the line a second behind victor Collard.
Said Herta: “I had some good runs at Martins but couldn’t take advantage of them. Finally I got him when he didn’t think I was going to do it; I got him under braking and he couldn’t defend. I’m not disappointed that it has taken me this long to make the podium because I think it shows how much I have grown. I have been working hard at it.”
Martins felt there was something amiss with his car: “I think for sure there was something wrong with the left rear.” Nonetheless he held on for fourth at the line and with it his maiden Rookie class win, and with it Ford’s £500 cash prize.
Matheus Leist (Double R) and Jack Barlow (MBM) held fifth and sixth places respectively all the way from opening lap to chequered flag. Dan Ticktum (Fortec) would have finished behind them for seventh but for a technical issue on the final lap which cost him two places. Carlin’s Petru Florescu nipped ahead of Ticktum for seventh (and second in the Rookie class) and Sennan Fielding took advantage also to secure eighth for the JHR Developments squad.
Dan Baybutt survived an opening-lap punt from behind at the hairpin, and subsequent understeer, to take 10th place and with it pole position for this afternoon’s reverse-grid sprint race. The top 15 was completed by Tarun Reddy’s Double R machine, Josh Smith in the Racing Steps Foundation-backed car, Sandy Mitchell (Arden), Louise Richardson (Richardson Racing) and Enaam Ahmed (Arden), who battled through from penultimate place on the grid. Championship debutant Jessica Hawkins claimed 19th for Falcon.
The other newcomer, Toby Sowery, spun off on the second lap, his Fortec car coming to rest in a dangerous position, which prompted the safety car call. JTR’s James Pull was a lap-one spinner and retiree.
Just as Ricky Collard proved earlier this afternoon, a fast start is what you need for success at Oulton Park and in this evening’s reverse-grid race it was Sennan Fielding who underlined the point. Fielding’s JHR Developments machine made a rocketship getaway from third on the grid to slice between front-row men Dan Baybutt (JHR) and Dan Ticktum (Fortec) to seize the lead into the first turn.
Fielding kept the hammer down to emerge at the end of the opening lap with a handsome three-second lead over Baybutt, and though his leading pursuer soon became Double R’s Matheus Leist, who broke the hours-old Oulton Park lap record as he chased, Fielding was not to be denied his and his team’s maiden MSA Formula victory, and with it the Ford £1000 winner’s cheque.
“I made an extremely good start,” said Sennan, “and I wasn’t really expecting to… Everything just came together for me and I managed just to get away and by the time I got to Cascades I already had a big lead. After that I knew I had just not to make any mistakes and keep the lap times steady. We put new brake discs in the car after race one and I wasn’t sure how long they would take to bed in; I had to work them quite hard to get them working well.”
Leist, who from P6 also made a brilliant start, crossed the finish line two seconds behind Fielding and the Brazilian was pleased with his progress and the result, which takes him to within three points of the championship top three: “It’s really great to start P6 and finish second,” said Matheus. “The car was good – we made some changes after the first race – and now the championship is looking good for me too.”
Having been passed by Leist on lap two, Baybutt clung to third for a further two laps before being overcome by Ticktum and dropped to fourth. Said Baybutt: “It’s not that I made a bad start but the guy behind me got an exceptional one… I struggle on cold tyres; once they warm up and get going I’m fine.” Ticktum’s third place gave him his seventh Rookie class win of the year.
Petru Florescu might have been Carlin’s highest-placed finisher; the Romanian ran fifth up to lap five, when he was summoned to the pit lane for a drive-through penalty having been deemed to have anticipated the start. MBM’s Jack Barlow inherited fifth, leading a gaggle of closely matched cars for the duration, with Carlin man Colton Herta sixth ahead of SWB’s Rafael Martins, Lando Norris (Carlin) and race one winner Ricky Collard (Arden).
Tarun Reddy completed the top 10 for the Double R team, ahead of Sandy Mitchell’s Arden car and Darius Karbaley for Falcon. James Pull put behind him his first-race crash to secure 13th for JTR, with Toby Sowery (Falcon) 14th ahead of the penalised Florescu.
Josh Smith (Fortec) and Enaam Ahmed (Arden) made contact on the opening lap; Smith retired but Ahmed was able to continue after repairs to finish 20th. Ameya Vaidyanathan (Double R) failed to make the grid after a fuel line problem.
Provisional results Oulton Park 6 June 2015
Round 10: 13 laps / 28.94 miles
1 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden 20m 56.608s / 82.90mph
2 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin +0.447s
3 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin +1.028s
4 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB +4.033s
5 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R +4.664s
6 Jack BARLOW / GBR / MBM +7.440s
7 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +9.585s
8 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +9.805s
9 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec +9.828s
10 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR +10.116s etc
Fastest lap Herta 1m 23.195s / 96.32mph Est Rec
Rookie class 1 Martins, 2 Florescu, 3 Ticktum, 4 Baybutt, 5 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec, 6 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden, 7 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden, 8 Darius KARBALEY / GBR / Falcon, 9 Ameya VAIDYANATHAN / IND / JTR
Round 11: 15 laps / 33.39 miles
1 FIELDING 20m 58.718s / 95.49mph
2 LEIST +2.032s
3 TICKTUM +10.379s
4 BAYBUTT +16.076s
5 BARLOW +17.719s
6 HERTA +18.463s
7 MARTINS +19.009s
8 NORRIS +19.491s
9 COLLARD +20.203s
10 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R +20.777s etc
Fastest lap Leist 1m 22.807s / 96.77mph Rec
Rookie class 1 Ticktum, 2 Baybutt, 3 Martins, 4 Mitchell, 5 Karbaley, 6 Florescu, 7 Ahmed
Provisional championship standings
1 Collard 157 points; 2 Norris 142; 3 Ticktum 137; 4 Leist 134; 5 Mitchell 88; 6 James Pull 79; 7 Herta 73; 8 Fielding 72; 9 Barlow 66; 10 Martins 58 etc
Rookie class 1 Ticktum 212; 2 Baybutt 150; 3 Mitchell 143; 4 Martins 134; 5 Florescu 113; 6 Ahmed 112 etc