Norris and Collard head to head again in Croft testing

  • Lando quickest in the dry, Ricky in the wet as championship leaders prepare for a weekend of action in North Yorkshire

CROFT 26 JUNE, 2015 – Championship top two Ricky Collard and Lando Norris showed their class again today at Croft in testing ahead of the weekend’s rounds of the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship races, Collard quickest in the morning’s wet session and Norris on top in the dry in the afternoon.

At the end of the day it was Carlin’s 15-year-old Norris on top overall, his best lap for the 2.125-mile North Yorkshire track three-tenths of a second better than Collard’s optimum time. Fresh from victory last weekend at Spa on his debut in the German F4 Championship, Norris was pleased to have reacclimatised himself so well to his British car and also to Croft, the scene of his maiden car-race victory last season.

“It was hot and hard work,” said Lando. “It’s quite a bumpy track and it’s hard to get everything right and put a whole lap together. It’s easy to make a mistake and lose a lot of time, so I’m pleased overall.”

Collard was upbeat about his chances for the weekend of retaining his championship lead over Norris, which stands currently at seven points: “I feel that we didn’t get the best from the car. We have some gearing issues and if we can sort them out, maybe we can edge Norris in qualifying. This had always been a bit of bogey track for me so I was pleased to be quickest in the wet.”

Collard’s best lap in the wet morning session was 0.016s better than that of his closest rival, Fortec’s Dan Ticktum. Ticktum set third-best time behind Norris and Collard in the dry, with Colton Herta P4 for Carlin and Tarun Reddy (Double R) close behind for fifth. JTR’s Dan Baybutt completed the testing top six. Seventh, and the final driver within a second of Norris, was Double R’s Matheus Leist.

There was a strong showing from Richardson Racing’s Louise Richardson, who ran as high as third in the middle stages of session two before slipping back to ninth. Said Louise: “We’ve given the car a bit of an overhaul since Oulton, have gone radical with the set-up and it seems to be working. There are still a few tweaks to be made but it’s there or thereabouts now and the rest has to come from me…”

Jack Butel was pleased with his showing at the wheel of a brand-new chassis for his new team JHR Developments: “It’s going well and we are getting to grips with the car, which has never raced before.” Jack was 17th overall, with 1.4s to find to get on terms with his team-mate Sennan Fielding, who was eighth overall.

The afternoon session was incident-free but there were a couple of interruptions to proceedings this morning with the session interrupted 10 minutes from its scheduled end while the JTR machine of Ameya Vaidyanathan was retrieved following a minor off at Tower. It was then red-flagged for good with a minute to go when Darius Karbaley clobbered the tyres at the Complex.

Saturday will be a busy day for competitors with official qualifying scheduled for 1025. The first of the Croft weekend’s three races is set to follow at 1340 and the reverse-grid race is due off at 1725. Sunday afternoon’s finale will be screened live on ITV4.

Leading testing times Croft 26 June 2015 (am/pm)
1 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin 1:30.296 / 1:21.402
2 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden 1:30.223 / 1:21.725
3 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec 1:30.239 / 1:22.033
4 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin 1:30.859 / 1:22.196
5 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R 1:30.848 / 1:22.342
6 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR 1:31.932 / 1:22.370
7 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R 1:31.010 / 1:22.370
8 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:31.641 / 1:22.401
9 Louise RICHARDSON / GBR / Richardson 1:31.821 / 1:22.488
10 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden 1:31.346 / 1:22.518 etc

Full times