First MSA Formula victory for Ford EcoBoost-powered rookie Josh Smith

  • Smith leads from pole position to chequered flag in Croft reverse-grid race
  • Colton Herta second for Carlin and Louise Richardson on the podium for the first time

CROFT 27 JUNE, 2015 – Josh Smith claimed a popular maiden victory in the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship this afternoon, leading at Croft from lights out to chequered flag for the Fortec team. The 16-year-old Rookie from Cumbria executed a perfect getaway from his first pole start and despite early pressure from Carlin driver Colton Herta he never looked in danger of being deprived the win.

By the end of the opening lap Racing Steps Foundation-backed Smith was six-tenths ahead and by mid-distance he was a second and a half in the clear; he went on to stroke out his advantage to four seconds by flag fall.

A delighted Josh said on the podium: “I had no clue whatsoever before this weekend that I’d get my first win. I knew I had good pace but I never thought this was on the cards. I can’t thank the team enough. Once I knew I’d be starting from pole I felt pretty confident because I knew I had the pace and consistency. All I had to do was to get if off the line.”

Herta had to give up his attempts to chase Smith and concentrate on defending his second from an assertive Louise Richardson, who made a great start from fourth on the grid to slot into third ahead of Double R’s Matheus Leist. Louise chased down the young American and made a bid to pass him around the outside at Tower on the ninth lap before settling for third. Said Louise: “I made a good start and then it was just a case of holding on… I got close to Colton and looked to have a go but this was going to be my first time on the podium and I just wanted to finish and with the car in one piece. I’m happy. Oulton was horrendous and now here I am on the podium.”

First-race frontrunner Sennan Fielding started sixth and gained a place on the opening lap, then liberated fourth from Leist out of Tower two laps from the end. Leist had to settle for fifth ahead of his team-mate Tarun Reddy.

A subdued Daniel Ticktum held seventh throughout (but was later excluded from the results) and was followed to the line by TRS Arden drivers Sandy Mitchell and Enaam Ahmed, with Dan Baybutt completing the top nine for JTR ahead of his team-mate James Pull, with Ricky Collard 11th following a pit-lane start after he failed to make the grid in time.

After his race one crash, Lando Norris started from the back and raced to 12th ahead of his team-mate Petru Florescu. Jessica Hawkins placed 14th for Falcon ahead of Rafael Martins (SWB), Jack Butel (JHR) and Ollie Pidgley (Richardson Racing). Ameya Vaidyanathan (JTR) was the sole retirement; Darius Karbaley (Falcon) failed to make the start due to damage from race one.

Provisional results Round 14 Croft 27 June 2015 amended
14 laps / 29.75 miles
1 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec 19m 21.405s / 92.21mph
2 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin +3.999s
3 Louise RICHARDSON / GBR / Richardson +4.917s
4 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +8.656s
5 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R +9.326s
6 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R +10.115s
7 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden +12.294s
8 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden +12.930s
9 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR +13.958s
10 James PULL / GBR / JTR +17.018s etc
Fastest lap Herta 1m 22.218s / 93.04mph Rec

Rookie class 1 Smith, 2 Mitchell, 3 Ahmed, 4 Baybutt, 5 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin, 6 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB

Full results