Leist far from least in Donington MSA Formula thriller

  • Matheus Leist puts his qualifying problems behind him to claim a maiden MSA Formula victory
  • Ricky Collard second ahead of Sennan Fielding, with Dan Ticktum once again the Rookie class winner

DONINGTON PARK 19 APRIL, 2015 – MSA Formula celebrated its fourth different race victor in five races this morning as Brazil’s Matheus Leist joined the winner’s circle for the first time. Leist’s Double R-prepared Ford EcoBoost racer led all the way from turn one to the chequered flag but the 16-year-old prodigy was kept on his toes throughout by his pursuers Sennan Fielding and Ricky Collard.

It was a great reversal of fortune for Leist, who yesterday suffered a suspension problem in qualifying which left him 18th on the grid for Donington’s first race. Hard work and perseverance saw Matheus finish the opener in seventh spot, earning him P2 on the grid for this morning’s reverse-grid sprint.

A demon getaway at the lights saw Leist slice ahead of pole man Jack Barlow (MBM) and turn into Redgate corner ahead of the pack, with Fielding’s JHR Developments car shooting through to second from P4 at the expense of Collard (TRS Arden) and Barlow. By the first lap’s end Leist was six-tenths clear and he increased his advantage over Sennan to two seconds by the sixth tour.

Collard took his time to recover from what was by his standards a relatively slow getaway and he pounced for second place down Starkeys Straight on lap seven to demote Fielding, still suffering the downshift problems which have beset him all weekend, to third. This action gave Leist the opportunity to build his lead to five seconds and, though Collard nibbled away to reduce it to 2.8s by the end, Leist’s victory and his £1000 Ford cash prize was never in great danger. Fielding’s third was his maiden podium finish in MSA Formula.

Winner Matheus Leist: “It was good. I did a good start and I lead all the race, and I want to thank the whole team for helping me. Yesterday I was P18 in qualifying because I had some problems but today we did an excellent job.”

Second, Ricky Collard: “I didn’t make the usual Collard start; I don’t know what happened. But my race pace was good and I think we’re in good shape generally. I just need to improve my qualifying.”

Third, Sennan Fielding: “We’ve still a few issues. When I’m on the limit it’s not down-shifting properly, which is frustrating. Once you have a problem like that it knocks your confidence a bit. Everyone is trying their hardest to fix it. It’s a shame because we have the pace to win.”

Rookie runner-up, Dan Baybutt: “As the race wore on I was struggling a bit to sift down gears. That’s why my pace went off. But I had a good start and my tyres are in good shape for the final race.”

Barlow kept well in touch with the top three throughout to secure his second top-four finish of the year, finishing well ahead of championship leader and Saturday Donington victor Dan Ticktum (Fortec), who started eighth and picked off the cars of Lando Norris (Carlin) and Dan Baybutt (JTR) early on before claiming fifth from Gustavo Myasava (Double R) mid-race. It was Ticktum’s fifth consecutive Rookie class win.

Norris slipped to eighth on the opening lap and drove well in the latter stages to claw his way back to sixth past Myasava and Baybutt. James Pull took seventh for JTR ahead of Myasava, Carlin’s Colton Herta and Baybutt, who was another suffering with downshift issues. Baybutt took the second spot on the Rookie podium, with Racing Steps Foundation driver Josh Smith third in class (and 13th overall).

Louise Richardson bettered her Brands Hatch best with 11th for Richardson Racing, ahead of Jack Butel (SWB), whose 12th was a personal best, Smith and JTR’s rookie Ameya Vaidyanathan. Rafael Martins (SWB) was delayed towards the end with a flapping front wing but survived to complete the top 15.

Sandy Mitchell’s race was run after six laps after he and his TRS Arden team-mate Enaam Ahmed clashed while disputing 11th place. Mitchell spun off while Ahmed suffered wing damage which necessitated a pit stop; he finished 19th, four laps down. Darius Karbaley (Falcon) joined Mitchell in retirement on the final lap when he spun out of 12th spot.

Provisional results Round 5, Donington Park 19 April 2015
18 laps / 35.62 miles

1 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R 20m 46.252s / 102.79mph
2 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden +2.852s
3 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +5.161s
4 Jack BARLOW / GBR / MBM +5.570s
5 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec +12.729s
6 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin +16.212s
7 James PULL / GBR / JTR +20.893s
8 Gustavo MYASAVA / BRA / Double R +21.121s
9 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin +21.534s
10 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR +22.224s etc

Fastest lap Barlow 1m 08.140s / 104.55mph

Rookie class 1 Ticktum, 2 Baybutt, 3 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec, 4 Ameya VAIDYANATHAN / IND / JTR, 5 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB etc

Full results

Provisional championship standings
1 Ticktum 88 points; 2 Norris 73; 3 Collard 69; 4 Leist 65; 5 Pull 62; 6 Fielding 38 etc.
Rookie class 1 Ticktum 133; 2 Baybutt 80; 3 Petru Florescu 53; 4 Enaam Ahmed 48; 5 Smith 47 etc