- Lando Norris and Dan Ticktum in collision at final corner
- Fielding awarded victory after Ticktum excluded from results
- First Rookie class win for Josh Smith
CROFT 27 JUNE, 2015 – A last-corner clash brought a dramatic end to the first MSA Formula race of the Croft weekend, with Carlin’s Lando Norris and Fortec’s Dan Ticktum colliding as they disputed the lead. Within sight of the chequered flag, victory and the championship lead, race-long leader Lando Norris was sidelined from the event, with Ticktum able to continue after their contact to cross the line first.
Norris, who had shown all his rivals a clean pair of heels in qualifying by topping the time sheets for the second meeting in succession, had made a good start from the pole and quickly established a lead over his rival which he looked set to maintain to the line.
Their collision also affected the battle for the final podium place: Sennan Fielding (JHR) had held third spot from the outset after a lightning start from fifth on grid and was pursued for the duration of the race by the TRS Arden car of Ricky Collard. Collard, suffering understeer throughout, had no answer for Fielding’s pace, but when they arrived at the hairpin to find Norris’s stricken car, Fielding opted to go around the outside of the debris while Collard opted for an inside line, gaining him track position. Thus the order at the finish line was Ticktum, Collard, Fielding.
Extensive post-race investigations by the race stewards decided that Ticktum had caused an avoidable collision, and excluded him from the results. Further, they ruled that Collard had passed Fielding under yellow warning flags, albeit unintentionally, and reversed their positions. Once the dust had settled it was therefore Sennan Fielding who was awarded the win, his second of the season for JHR – with Collard second. This result was upheld a month later following an unsuccessful appeal by Ticktum to the Motor Sports Council National Court.
Collard said: “I made a terrible start. It probably looked spectacular because I left some big black lines, but it wasn’t very quick. I’m a bit frustrated about that. I knew that the race would come to us and I kept chipping away and then we came upon Lando’s car in the middle of the track.”
The battle for the lower positions was less controversial. Double R’s Tarun Reddy slotted ahead of Carlin man Petru Florescu for fifth on the second lap and held station to the end for what became third and his maiden podium finish. Florescu retired to the pits mid-race with a loose rear wheel, promoting Louise Richardson to fourth – her best result of the season so far and a reward for the hard work of the Richardson Racing team since the Oulton Park rounds.
Matheus Leist was next up for Double R, ahead of Carlin’s Colton Herta, with Josh Smith enjoying his best run of the year to finish seventh overall, and therefore with Ticktum’s exclusion a maiden victory in the Rookie class, thanks to passing the TRS Arden car of Sandy Mitchell on the final lap. “It was a good race,” said Josh. “It’s all down to good preparation. We’ve worked hard and put in a big effort this weekend. We’re going forwards now.” Enaam Ahmed completed the top nine for TRS Arden, ahead of JTR team-mates Dan Baybutt, James Pull and Ameya Vaidyanathan.
Further last-lap drama was provided by Darius Karbaley (Falcon) and Jack Butel (JHR Developments), who collided at the Complex; both retired.
Provisional results Round 13 Croft 27 June 2015 amended
15 laps / 31.87 miles
1 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 20m 52.980s / 91.58mph
2 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden +0.838s
3 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R 20m +1.823s
4 Louise RICHARDSON / GBR / Richardson +4.638
5 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R +7.415s
6 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin +8.641s
7 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec +9.155s
8 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden +10.827s
9 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden +12.813s
10 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR +13.454s etc
Fastest lap Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin 1m 22.274s / 92.98mph Est Rec
Rookie class 1 Smith, 2 Mitchell, 3 Ahmed, 4 Baybutt, 5 Ameya VAIDYANATHAN / IND / JTR, 6 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB
Provisional championship standings
1 Collard 193 points; 2 Norris 174; 3 Daniel Ticktum 149; 4 Leist 144; 5 Fielding 112; 6 Mitchell 93 etc
Rookie class 1 Ticktum 238; 2 Baybutt 177; 3 Mitchell 169; 4 Martins 148 etc