- Twin poles for Lando as he bids to wrest championship lead from Ricky Collard
- Collard qualifies third behind Norris and Dan Ticktum
CROFT 27 JUNE, 2015 – Lando Norris led the way in MSA Formula qualifying at Croft this morning, the Carlin driver bagging pole for this afternoon’s 13th round of the Ford EcoBoost-powered championship and also for tomorrow’s live-televised round 15. His best lap around the 2.125-mile North Yorkshire circuit was a tenth faster than that of his closest rival, Fortec’s Dan Ticktum.
Norris’s second-best lap was a blinder too, and was again a tenth better than Ticktum could achieve. Lando played a canny game, electing to sit out the early laps of the 20-minute session in order to preserve his slick Hankook tyres for the later stages.
Said Lando: “The plan to save the tyres worked well and two poles is a good result. The plan for the race is to hopefully make a good start like I did in the last Oulton race, which was really my first good start of the year. If I can replicate that hopefully I can get away…”
Championship leader Collard was not disappointed with his third-place showing and believes his race pace will be good: “It’s a bit gutting to be P1 for a lot of the session and then to get pipped at the end but this is better than I was expecting – we had not tested here at all and I thought we’d really be on the back foot. I have issues with oversteer at high speed and understeer at low speed but I am sure we can sort that out. We have the race pace and I will be fired up for the race too.”
There was a season-best qualifying performance from Carlin’s Romanian racer Petru Florescu, who beat his team-mate Colton Herta to fourth spot by a 0.077s margin. Though he qualified fifth, Herta will start race one this afternoon from P10 due to a penalty imposed after his Oulton Park crash earlier this month.
Louise Richardson, her Richardson Racing car extensively overhauled after Oulton Park, was another to set a qualifying best for the year to date. Louise will line up seventh behind JHR Developments driver Sennan Fielding. “We’ve a few tweaks to make and I need to look at the data to see where I was making mistakes because I don’t think I ever got a really clean lap,” said Louise. “There are still a couple more tenths to be found if we can hook it all up together.”
Matheus Leist out-qualified his Double R team-mate Tarun Reddy by a tenth of a second to secure eighth, with TRS Arden man Sandy Mitchell completing the qualifying top 10.
There woes in the JTR camp with Dan Baybutt disappointed to qualify 12th. He fared better than his team-mate James Pull, who was in trouble even before the off when his car’s front wing was damaged in a collision with another car as they left the collecting area. James was 14th after a pit stop for a new nose.
The first race of the Croft triple-header follows at 1340.
Provisional qualifying times Croft 27 June 2015
Grid order for Round 13
1 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin 1:21.369
2 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec 1:21.463
3 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden 1:21.569
4 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1:21.835
5 Colton HERTA* / USA / Carlin 1:21.912
6 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:21.960
7 Louise RICHARDSON / GBR / Richardson 1:22.088
8 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R 1:22.129
9 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R 1:22.233
10 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden 1:22.234 etc
*5 place grid penalty
Round 15 grid order (based on second-fastest times): Norris – Ticktum – Collard – Herta – Florescu – Fielding – Leist – Richardson – Mitchell – Reddy etc