Baybutt snatches maiden MSA Formula pole position

  • Dan Baybutt and JTR team-mate James Pull get the best from the conditions in Brands Hatch qualifying
  • Baybutt on top spot for Round 1; Lando Norris will go from pole in Round 3

BRANDS HATCH 4 April, 2015 – MSA Formula burst into life this morning with a genuinely thrilling qualifying session featuring impressive driving in difficult conditions from the mainly teenage participants and a last-minute smash and grab raid on the championship’s first pole position of the season by reigning Formula Ford champion team JTR.

It was JTR’s 15-year-old charge Dan Baybutt who timed his run to perfection, he and his team-mate James Pull switching to fresh wet-weather Hankooks mid-way through the 20-minute session. They saved the best of their tyres for the final lap, with Baybutt going top by a third of a second and Pull slotting into third position. “We were just waiting for the track to dry,” said Baybutt. “The drier the track, the faster you go… the car felt great and the plan worked perfectly.”

Carlin’s Lando Norris split the two JTR men in terms of fastest qualifying times, and Lando’s second-fastest time was good enough to secure him the pole, ahead of Pull, for Sunday afternoon’s round three.

There were notable performances also from Double R’s Brazilian driver Matheus Leist, who was fourth fastest overall, and from Fortec’s Dan Ticktum, who gambled on a mid-session switch to slick tyres in the hope that the track would dry sufficiently. It didn’t quite pay off for the Sussex 15-year-old, whose best slick-tyre time was four-tenths shy of his quickest on wets. “Had there been time for another lap I would have gone quicker,” said Dan, “and another couple of laps and I would have had pole…” Ticktum will start from fifth this afternoon.

Jack Barlow’s MBM car suffered gearchange issues and he could manage no better than seventh behind Louise Richardson, another driver who played the tyre game well. Sennan Fielding (ninth) and Ricky Collard (11th) used the best from their tyres early on, while Colton Herta’s switch to slicks mid-session did not pay off as he had hoped; the Californian will start this afternoon from 13th. Sandy Mitchell was the only driver to opt to start the session on slicks and he struggled to get heat into them; he lines up 19th for TRS Arden. Missing from the session was young Romanian Alexandra Marinescu, still stiff and sore after her Friday testing crash. Just 0.83s covers the top seven on the grid.

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Provisional qualifying top 10 Brands Hatch 4 April 2015
1 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR 51.104s
2 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin 51.422s
3 James PULL / GBR / JTR 51.608s
4 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R 51.666s
5 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec 51.865s
6 Louise RICHARDSON / GBR / Richardson 51.887s
7 Jack BARLOW / GBR / MBM 51.917s
8 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden 51.934s
9 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 52.221s
10 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R 52.232s etc

Grid for Round 3 Norris – Pull – Leist – Baybutt – Ahmed – Barlow – Ticktum – Fielding – Ricky Collard – Richardson

Full times