Mitchell makes full use of Ford EcoBoost power at Thruxton

  • TRS Arden driver Sandy Mitchell fastest by eight-tenths in qualifying
  • Two poles for Mitchell with Carlin’s Lando Norris second fastest
  • Problems for series leader Dan Ticktum, who qualifies 17th

THRUXTON 9 MAY, 2015 – Fifteen-year-old Sandy Mitchell hammered the MSA Formula opposition at Thruxton this morning, dominating qualifying at the wheel of his TRS Arden-prepared and Ford EcoBoost-powered car. The Forfar man was the only driver to break the 74-second mark around the 2.3-mile Hampshire circuit, and his best lap – 1m 13.264s – was an impressive eight-tenths of a second quicker than that of his closest rival.

Sandy’s second-fastest lap was not much slower at 1m 13.464s, which means he will start from top spot in both this afternoon’s seventh round of the championship and tomorrow afternoon’s live-televised round nine.

Mitchell’s previous qualifying best, at Donington Park last month, was fifth, and the Scotsman was delighted to have earned his maiden car-racing pole slots: “I think the key to this track is to be smooth, especially out at the back of the circuit in the fast corners. It was quite difficult not having tested here this week and to have to go straight into qualifying, but I was able to focus and get some good laps in, and the car was great. It’s good finally to translate the pace that I have had this season into a positive qualifying result. Hopefully I can do it again in the races.”

It was Carlin’s Lando Norris who ran Mitchell closest, with Double R’s Matheus Leist snatching third position overall in the closing moments of the session. Sennan Fielding’s freshly reliveried JHR Developments car was fourth fastest, with Hampshire hero Ricky Collard – Mitchell’s Arden team-mate – fifth. “It’s a massive improvement for me,” said Ricky, whose previous qualifying top spot was eighth, “but I don’t know what my team-mate has got; he’s done a fantastic job and congratulations to him.”

JTR’s Dan Baybutt was sixth overall, fighting a lack of rear-end grip which he put down chiefly to the very windy conditions, with Petru Florescu a personal-best seventh: “That’s the first qualifying session I have had which was problem-free,” said the Romanian. The qualifying top 10 was completed by Tarun Reddy (Double R), Rafael Martins (SWB) and James Pull (JTR), who suffered a slight off the Complex towards the end of the session.

Jack Barlow was 11th for MBM. “I couldn’t get a tow,” said Jack, “and that cost me some time, but the car felt great and I’m confident for the race.”

Championship leader and Donington double winner Dan Ticktum endured a performance-related mechanical issue: “We are not sure what the problem was but these things happen in motorsport and I’m sure that we can find it and improve in the races,” said Dan, who was 17th overall of the 20 qualifiers.

Round seven of the championship follows at 1500.

Provisional qualifying top 10 Thruxton 9 May 2015
1 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden 1m 13.264s
2 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin 1m 14.079s
3 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R 1m 14.080s
4 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1m 14.082s
5 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden 1m 14.100s
6 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR 1m 14.234s
7 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1m 14.374s
8 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R 1m 14.389s
9 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB 1m 14.451s
10 James PULL / GBR / JTR 1m 14.464s etc

Round 9 grid order (based on second-fastest times)
Mitchell – Norris – Collard – Fielding – Leist – Baybutt – Florescu – Pull – Barlow – Martins etc

Full times