Norris edges closer to title with Brands Hatch victory

  • MSA Formula win number 8 for Lando Norris
  • Takes Carlin’s 300th motorsport win and heads home Colton Herta for a team 1-2
  • Ricky Collard claims third to keep alive his championship ambitions

BRANDS HATCH 10 OCTOBER, 2015 – Lando Norris led almost all the way at Brands Hatch this afternoon to clinch his eighth victory of the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula season, heading home his team-mate Colton Herta for what was the Carlin team’s 300th win in international motorsport. In so doing, Norris increases his championship points lead over Ricky Collard – who finished third for TRS Arden – to 29 points.

Other than for the first few yards of the race, Norris was in complete control. His only error came as the lights were extinguished to start the race and Herta made a better getaway from P2 on the grid to draw level with pole-sitter Lando as they hurtled towards Paddock Hill Bend. Said Norris: “Colton got a really good start and I didn’t get such a good one – he managed to get all the way alongside me pretty much but I think he maybe then missed a gear and that cost him. It could have been a completely different story but for that.”

Norris dug in to lead Herta over the line at the end of the first lap by half a second, building his advantage to 1.7 seconds by the end of the sixth. Thereafter Herta bit back to make Norris work hard for his victory – at the line they were separated by just 0.478s. “Colton certainly kept me on my toes the whole race,” said Lando, who came to Brands Hatch just a week after a big crash at Hockenheim in German F4. “Pole, win and fastest lap – it couldn’t get any better, especially coming after my crash last weekend in Germany. Luckily I wasn’t injured but it was a bit of a worry coming into this weekend. My win means I will start from seventh in the reverse-grid race with Ricky ahead of me, and I will have to work hard to get as many points as I can.”

Like Norris, Collard was beaten off the line by his team-mate, Enaam Ahmed’s TRS Arden machine getting clean in front through Paddock before Ricky reasserted himself at the Druids hairpin to reclaim third position. That was as much as Collard could do, however, his car lacking the pace of the Carlin machinery ahead. “It was like F4 versus F3 – the Carlin cars were in a league of their own,” said Ricky. “We just didn’t have the pace… Enaam made a really good start to pass me but I managed to get him around the outside into the hairpin. There was nothing I could do about Norris and Herta, though.”

Ahmed shadowed Collard all the way to the line for fourth and a clear Rookie class win – his fourth of the season. Said Enaam: “I’m disappointed I couldn’t get a podium but my pace was very similar to Ricky’s and I couldn’t pass him. My only chance came at the start.”

Sennan Fielding held fifth in the early stages for JHR Developments but front wing damage picked up in the pack in the early laps saw him retire to the pits after four laps. SWB Motorsport’s Rafael Martins took up the position, initially under pressure from James Pull (Fortec) until a sixth-lap clash between Pull and his pursuer, MBM Motorsport man Toby Sowery, gave Martins the break he needed to secure a top-five finish and second spot in the Rookie class.

Sandy Mitchell (TRS Arden) profited from the Pull/Sowery clash to move up and finish sixth, completing the Rookie podium, ahead of JTR’s Dan Baybutt, Sowery, Carlin man Petru Florescu and Pull.

It was a dismal day for Double R, with Matheus Leist forced on to the grass and out of the race at Graham Hill Bend on the opening lap and his team-mate Tarun Reddy retiring to the pits after just two laps. Ameya Vaidyanathan (JTR) and Darius Karbaley (Falcon) were casualties also, leaving just 14 finishers. Louise Richardson headed home Jack Butel for 11th with the finishing order completed by Greg Holloway and Josh Smith, who slipped to the tail of the field after a 10th-lap incident.

Provisional results Round 28 Brands Hatch 10 October 2015
14 laps / 34.06 miles
1 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin 20m 31.783s / 99.56mph
2 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin +0.478s
3 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden +8.957s
4 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden +9.977s
5 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB +21.783s
6 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden +22.803s
7 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR +22.980s
8 Toby SOWERY / GBR / MBM +24.899s
9 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +26.907s
10 James PULL / GBR / Fortec +27.745s etc
Fastest lap Norris 1m 26.797s / 100.92mph Est Rec

Rookie class 1 Ahmed; 2 Martins; 3 Mitchell; 4 Baybutt; 5 Florescu; 6 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec

Grid for Round 29 Baybutt – Mitchell – Martins – Ahmed – Collard – Herta – Norris – Sowery – Florescu – Pull etc

Provisional championship standings
1 Norris 388 points; 2 Collard 359; 3 Herta 319; 4 Sennan Fielding 286; 5 Matheus Leist 266; 6 Dan Ticktum 242; 7 Mitchell 173; 8 Ahmed 136; 9 Martins 98; 10 Florescu 97 etc
Rookie class 1 Ticktum 408; 2 Ahmed 389; 3 Mitchell 365; 4 Baybutt 339; 5 Florescu 329 etc

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