Norris heads super-close Rockingham test day

  • Carlin driver Lando Norris beats Sennan Fielding to top spot by six-hundredths of a second
  • Top 11 covered by less than a second at the Speedway

ROCKINGHAM 4 SEPTEMBER, 2015 – With less than a second covering the top 11 drivers in today’s Rockingham MSA Formula testing, the scene is set for a thrillingly competitive weekend of Ford EcoBoost-powered action at the Northamptonshire Speedway.

Carlin’s 15-year-old star Lando Norris led the way throughout, topping the morning test by 0.176s from championship leader Ricky Collard and going on to improve by two-tenths on new tyres in the afternoon to end the day ahead overall, albeit by the reduced margin of 0.065s. It was not Collard but Sennan Fielding who ran Norris closest, the JHR Developments driver improving by nearly a second during the day after the team traced and cured a gearbox issue.

Said Lando: “Sennan was fastest and then I went out for my second run and improved by two-tenths, which is quite a bit – it was a good session. We’ve done a few days testing here and I know the circuit quite well, but everyone is very close behind. I’ll be concentrating on trying to win the first and last races but we will have to wait to see what happens; it will be tough.”

Sennan Fielding: “Everyone else was chucking new tyres at their cars – we’ve had only one set all day, so I am pleased with second. The car was really good today straight away and I think we have a really good race car for the weekend. This morning we had a few gearbox issues but they seem to have found the issue, so I am hoping for some strong results.”

Fortec’s Dan Ticktum was third overall today ahead of Carlin man Colton Herta, with Collard pipping his TRS Arden team-mate Enaam Ahmed to fifth spot overall despite failing to improve his pace in the afternoon. Dan Baybutt was seventh fastest for the JTR team at their home circuit with Double R’s Matheus Leist eighth.

Sandy Mitchell was the first to discover the unyielding nature of Rockingham’s pit-straight wall after an untidy exit from the Brook chicane early in session one. “I carried a little too much speed out of the corner and I think the tyres weren’t fully ‘in’ yet,” said the Forfar 15-year-old. “I brushed the wall with the rear and that put the front into the wall as well…” Sandy’s TRS Arden mechanics did sterling work to repair the car and he thanked them by setting ninth-best time. Petru Florescu (Carlin) and Tarun Reddy (Double R) were also within a second of Norris at the flag to complete the top 11.

On his first outing with the MBM team, Toby Sowery ran 15th quickest, with ex-Formula Ford racer Greg Holloway 20th on his MSA Formula debut at the wheel of a Richardson Racing machine.

Official qualifying is set for 1020 tomorrow ahead of a 1425 start for the championship’s 22nd round. There are two further races on Sunday, the second of which will be screened live on ITV4 at 1550.

Leading testing times Rockingham 4 September 2015 (am/pm)
1 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin 1:18.451 / 1:18.242
2 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:19.267 / 1:18.307
3 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec 1:18.942 / 1:18.365
4 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin 1:18.686 / 1:18.592
5 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden 1:18.627 / 1:18.758
6 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden 1:18.974 / 1:18.691
7 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR 1:19.343 / 1:18.751
8 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R 1:19.151 / 1:18.789
9 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden 1:20.577 / 1:18.978
10 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1:19.035 / 1:19.032 etc

Full times