- Last-lap heartbreak for race-long leader Dan Ticktum
- Sennan Fielding profits from Ticktum’s problems to claim his third win
- Josh Smith the Rookie class victor
KNOCKHILL 23 AUGUST, 2015 – Sennan Fielding emerged victorious from a chaotic and incident-strewn 20th round of MSA Formula this morning at Knockhill to claim his third win of the season for the JHR Developments team. His triumph came at the expense of race-long leader Dan Ticktum, whose car failed him on the final lap. Colton Herta claimed second spot for Carlin, with Ticktum’s Fortec team-mate Josh Smith salvaging something for the squad with a hard-earned third place.
There was drama throughout the 19 laps, the first coming on the opening lap when Tarun Reddy (Double R) collided with Jessica Hawkins’ Falcon Motorsport machine, with both cars coming to rest in awkward places, necessitating a safety car intervention. Ticktum, who started from pole in the reverse-grid race, led from the start ahead of Smith and Herta, and maintained his position at the head of the field when racing resumed on lap seven. By the end of the ninth Dan’s lead over Josh was stretched to 1.9s.
But the safety car was on track again on the next lap while the car of championship leader Lando Norris (Carlin) was recovered from the Duffus Dip gravel trap; Lando had been tapped into a spin by a pursuer as he defended eighth place. Again, Ticktum handled the restart with skill to maintain course for what would have been his fourth win of the year.
Lap 14 saw a shake up behind as Herta launched an attack on Smith as Ticktum’s pursuers headed towards the Hairpin. There was contact between the pair, and Fielding took the opportunity to follow Herta past the momentarily unsettled Smith. Behind Josh, James Pull (Fortec) got caught up in the melee and speared off the track and into the barriers. Next time around Fielding seized second from Herta.
Ticktum’s trouble-free run came to a halt at the start of the 19th, his car losing power as it crossed the start line. Dan battled to get the machine back up to full speed but was literally powerless to prevent Fielding and the rest streaming past him. Thus Sennan – who yesterday claimed a surprise podium finish at Knockhill – gratefully took the win, with Herta crossing the line just seven-tenths behind and Smith collecting third, and the Rookie class victory.
Said winner Fielding: “It’s definitely been my lucky weekend so far. After qualifying I wasn’t expecting much in the way of results. I bided my time behind Josh and Colton and could see they were getting quite close to each other – I wanted to get stuck in too but I decided to hold back. As soon as I saw they had contact then I decided it was my time to take advantage down into the hairpin. I was happy to settle for second and then on the last lap I saw Dan have his problem, and it gifted me the win. We’ve not had the outright pace of the frontrunners all weekend, so it just shows the importance of being there at the finish.”
Race officials deemed the contact between Herta and Smith a racing incident: Said Rookie victor Josh: “Fortunately my car felt fine after my impact with Colton.”
Added Herta: “That was a crazy race. I was just trying to stay out of trouble – and overtake at the same time. At least I ended the race in better condition than a lot of the guys.”
TRS Arden team-mates Sandy Mitchell and Enaam Ahmed completed the Rookie podium with fourth and fifth overall respectively, ahead of Matheus Leist (Double R) and Ricky Collard (TRS Arden), who had started from the very back of the grid after his Saturday race retirement.
Dan Baybutt had looked set to collect eighth but was one of a gaggle of cars which rounded the chicane to find Ticktum’s ever-slowing car ahead of them. Avoiding action had to be taken and in the scrum Baybutt’s JTR car came to grief in the gravel. Eighth thus went the way of Rafael Martins’ SWB Motorsport car, with Jack Butel ninth for JHR and Ollie Pidgley claiming his first top-10 finish for Richardson Racing. The depleted finishing order was completed by Petru Florescu (Carlin) and Louise Richardson (Richardson Racing).
The Knockhill MSA Formula feature race, to be screened live on ITV4, follows at 1625, with Ticktum starting from pole position.
Provisional results Round 20 Knockhill 23 August 2015
19 laps / 24.07 miles
1 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 18m 52.111s / 76.54mph
2 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin +0.722s
3 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec +1.498s
4 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden +3.076s
5 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden +3.438s
6 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R +3.827s
7 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden +4.353s
8 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB +6.851s
9 Jack BUTEL / GBR / JHR +8.949s
10 Ollie PIDGLEY / GBR / Richardson +11.315s etc
Fastest lap Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec 50.423s / 90.45mph
Rookie class 1 Smith; 2 Mitchell; 3 Ahmed; 4 Martins; 5 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin
Provisional championship standings
1 Lando Norris 265 points; 2 Collard 250; 3 Fielding 218; 4 Ticktum 213; 5 Herta 188; 6 Leist 178; 7 Mitchell 131; 8 James Pull 88; 9 Ahmed 83; 10 Tarun Reddy 80 etc
Rookie class 1 Ticktum 339; 2 Mitchell 254; 3 Ahmed 250; 4 Florescu 239; 5 Baybutt 234 etc