DONINGTON PARK 16 APRIL, 2015 – Dan Ticktum continued today where he left off at Thruxton last week, setting the MSA Formula testing pace at the wheel of his Ford EcoBoost-powered and Fortec-prepared car. The West Sussex 15-year-old emerged on top in the second and third of the day’s Donington test sessions, and ahead for the day overall by a margin of just over a quarter-second.
Behind championship leader Ticktum the times were incredibly close, with less than half a second covering the top nine and a second spanning positions one to 15, setting the scene for a dramatic official qualifying session on Saturday morning.
Round one victor Lando Norris was quickest by eight-hundredths of a second in the first free practice session for the Carlin team, and found more time later on to end the day as one of six drivers under the 68-second mark for the 1.98-mile National circuit at Donington.
JTR’s James Pull ran Ticktum closest, with TRS Arden’s Ricky Collard third fastest ahead of Norris, Sennan Fielding (JHR) and Dan Baybutt (JTR). Collard, who won Round two of the championship a fortnight ago at Brands Hatch, was upbeat about his prospects for the coming race weekend. “The second session was my best,” said Ricky. “We put on new tyres half-way through and if I’m honest maybe I didn’t get quite the best from them; I had a couple of little slides and hairy moments, so to end the session two-tenths down is not disappointing. We have good race pace and should be OK for the weekend.”
Several drivers found out early on that Donington’s kerbs are unforgiving. Among those to damage their cars were Double R’s Gustavo Myasava (who tomorrow celebrates his 19th birthday), Arden’s Sandy Mitchell and Fortec driver Josh Smith. Myasava bounced back well in the later sessions to end the day 10th overall, a tenth slower than his team-mate Matheus Leist, with Mitchell 11th.
Three drivers enjoyed their first official MSA Formula test day, with F3 Cup reigning champion Toby Sowery 14th on his debut with the Falcon Motorsport team; Ollie Pidgley overcoming a variety of niggling car problems to set 19th best time for Richardson Racing and Ameya Vaidyanathan 20th for JTR.
Friday is a rest day at the Leicestershire circuit, with paddock seminars and media training for competitors, ahead of Saturday morning’s official qualifying session and the first of the weekend’s three races in the afternoon.
Testing times (sessions 1/2/3) Donington Park 16 April 2015
1 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec 1:08.319 / 1:07.616 / 1:07.820
2 James PULL / GBR / JTR 1:08.174 / 1:08.082 / 1:07.847
3 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden 1:08.652 / 1:07.853 / 1:08.066
4 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin 1:08.092 / 1:07.901 / 1:07.933
5 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:08.454 / 1:07.976 / 1:08.474
6 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR 1:09.112 / 1:08.681 / 1:08.037
7 Jack BARLOW / GBR / MBM 1:08.953 / 1:08.108 / 1:08.049
8 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1:09.954 / 1:08.358 / 1:08.083
9 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R 1:08.893 / 1:08.096 / 1:08.628
10 Gustavo MYASAVA / BRA / Double R 1:10.673 / 1:08.647 / 1:08.216 etc