Collard attacks to claim victory in Knockhill finale, and retake series lead

  • Ricky battles through from third on the grid to take MSA Formula win number four
  • Penalty drops early leader Dan Ticktum as Colton Herta and Sennan Fielding complete the podium

KNOCKHILL 23 AUGUST, 2015 – An impressive drive under heavy pressure at Knockhill this afternoon netted Ricky Collard his fourth Ford EcoBoost-powered win of the MSA Formula season, and with it the championship lead he lost yesterday to Lando Norris. Collard took over in front after three laps when Dan Ticktum was ordered to the pits for jumping the start, and held on in front of Carlin man Colton Herta to win by a margin of just 0.6s.

Ricky, whose TRS Arden car started third on the grid behind Ticktum’s Fortec machine and Carlin man Norris, was on a mission from the outset, seizing second place from Norris as they headed into the Hairpin on the opening lap. Thanks to his anticipated start, Ticktum was already 1.6s ahead by the end of lap one, and he built his advantage over Collard to two seconds before answering his summons for a drive-through.

Herta passed his team-mate Norris for second on lap four and proved an unshakeable presence in Collard’s mirrors, not least when the Safety Car was called into play after a ninth-lap clash of wheels at the Hairpin between Petru Florescu and Josh Smith left Florescu’s car stranded at the side of the track.

Collard gunned it at the restart on lap 13 but Herta misjudged and slipped back, allowing Ricky to extend the lead to a useful, but far from comfortable, 0.8s. By lap 18 Collard was 1.4s in front and looking set for victory – and then on the penultimate tour he made a mistake through Hislop’s which allowed his American rival to close right in once again. A do-or-die final lap secured the win for Ricky.

Said Ricky: “I dropped a wheel on the apex on the entry and that cost me really badly. I was pushing so hard to try to get the point for fastest lap. That lap was going really well and then all of a sudden… It gave me a bit of a kick and I asked myself what I thought I was doing! I knew then that I really had to go hard at it on the final lap. The first race of this weekend was a bit of a disaster for me but I think in the future I will be able to look back on Knockhill and know I gave it 100 per cent.”

Herta knew where he had lost the battle: “If I hadn’t messed up the restart I would have had a chance… I didn’t remember where the safety car would be pulling in – I thought it was further up the track. When I realised it was too late.”

From sixth on the grid, Sennan Fielding (JHR Developments) moved into fourth place on the second lap and, with Ticktum’s penalty, he collected third place and a hat-trick of Knockhill podium visits. Said Sennan: “What a weekend: I can’t really believe I’ve had three podiums. We’ve not had the outright pace here but it just shows that it’s not always about pace. Now the championship has closed up a lot and I’m looking forward to the next three events.”

Collard’s TRS Arden team-mate Enaam Ahmed continued his strong run of recent form to take fourth and the Rookie class victory. Said Enaam after completing his hat-trick of top-five overall finishes: “It’s been a really good weekend – all top-five finishes – and I’m really happy and looking forward to taking it on to Rockingham. I had a good battle with Sennan but he defended really well and I couldn’t pass him.”

Scottish driver Sandy Mitchell was another beaming Arden man with a trio of top-five results, this time fifth at his home circuit, just ahead of SWB Motorsport’s Rafael Martins. Norris finished a subdued seventh, a couple of tenths in front of Ticktum, with Louise Richardson (Richardson Racing) claiming ninth and Fortec’s Josh Smith completing the top 10. The remaining finishers were Matheus Leist, who started from pit lane after pre-start technical dramas, Ollie Pidgley, Jack Butel and Jessica Hawkins.

Joining Florescu in retirement were Day Baybutt, Tarun Reddy (after a clash with Ticktum and a high-speed bounce through the gravel) and James Pull, who suffered a broken wheel on the green flag lap.

Provisional results Round 21 Knockhill 23 August 2015
20 laps / 25.34 miles
1 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden 17m 57.031s / 84.69mph
2 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin +0.656s
3 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +3.413s
4 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden +3.851s
5 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden +4.459s
6 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB +7.160s
7 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin +8.895s
8 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec +9.141s
9 Louise RICHARDSON / GBR / Richardson +12.334s
10 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec +13.864s etc
Fastest lap Herta 50.389s / 90.51mph

Rookie class 1 Ahmed; 2 Mitchell; 3 Martins; 4 Ticktum; 5 Smith

Provisional championship standings
1 Collard 275; 2 Norris 271; 3 Fielding 233; 4 Ticktum 217; 5 Herta 207; 6 Leist 179; 7 Mitchell 141;  8 Ahmed 95;  9 James Pull 88; 10 Tarun Reddy 80 etc
Rookie class 1 Ticktum 352; 2 Ahmed 275; 3 Mitchell 272; 4 Petru Florescu 239; 5 Daniel Baybutt 234 etc

Full times