Ricky races to victory in Brands Hatch thriller

  • Ricky Collard claims his first car-racing victory with Round 2 MSA Formula win for TRS Arden team at Brands Hatch
  • Dan Ticktum second for Fortec to claim championship lead

BRANDS HATCH 5 April, 2015 – Ricky Collard made excellent use of his single-seater racing experience to out-gun his younger rivals this morning and claim victory in the second round of the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship. It was the first win at the wheel of a car for the 18-year-old son of touring car racer Rob Collard (dad went on to follow his son’s lead with victory in the first round of the BTCC), and the maiden win in MSA Formula for him and the TRS Arden team.

Collard started from the second row for the reverse-grid race by dint of his top-five finish in yesterday’s opening round of the UK’s new youth motorsport championship. Ahead of him on the grid were three rookie drivers: JTR’s 15-year-olds James Pull and Dan Baybutt, and 16-year-old Brazilian Rafa Martins (SWB Motorsport), and while they hesitated very slightly at the lights there was a decisive blast-off from Collard, enabling him to draw alongside Pull into Paddock Hill Bend and gain enough momentum to out-drag him up the hill towards the Druids hairpin.

Once in front there was no dislodging the Arden driver from top spot, even though he had to survive two brief safety car periods and a concerted late-race assault from Fortec’s flier Dan Ticktum.

The first of the caution periods came after Sennan Fielding (JHR Developments) was tagged into a spin on the run down to Graham Hill Bend; his car came to a halt in an awkward position and needed assistance to get going again. The car with which Fielding’s made contact, Dan Baybutt’s JTR chassis, pitted for a new wheel.

The second safety came on the ninth lap, when Martins, who had been driving brilliantly to move into second place ahead of Pull, spun out of Clark Curve, stalled and couldn’t restart his car. Rafa’s demise promoted Ticktum to second. Dan – second overall and the leading rookie finisher yesterday – had started seventh and made up three places on the opening lap thanks to the Baybutt/Fielding incident. He picked off Pull on lap six for third place, and by the time the safety car pulled in for the final time the Sussex star was seven-tenths behind the leader.

If Dan was looking for hesitation from Ricky to help him close the gap, he was to be disappointed. Collard nailed the second safety car restart of his career and quickly built his advantage to nearly a second. Ticktum battled back to close it down to 0.4s in the closing laps, but was unable to get on terms. His second P2 finish in as many days earns Dan the championship lead.

Winner, Ricky Collard: “I couldn’t believe it… The second I managed to get a gap, out came the safety car! My start was a bit of a Collard special: I had two Weetabix this morning and managed to get off the line quite quickly. After that I was just focused on staying consistent, but the safety cars threw everything into the air. My first-ever restart under the safety car was quickly followed by another, but it all worked out OK. We had a couple of small issues, including tyre wear because I pushed a little too hard early on, but the car was handling like it was on rails and it’s a fantastic result for me and the team.”

Second, Dan Ticktum: “Starting seventh was a bit harder than from fifth but wasn’t too bad and I was confident in the pace of the car. I narrowly managed to avoid the first-lap incident and kept chipping away at it throughout the race. I tried to catch Ricky but he pulled a bit too much of a gap on me at the restart, which if I’m honest was my fault.”

Third, James Pull: “My start was better than yesterday’s, which was a bit of a shocker, but I learned from that experience. Just before the first safety car I got hit by another car, which may have affected things a little, but overall it felt good and I’m pleased.”

Pull came under heavy assault towards the end from the youngest driver in the field, 15-year-old Colton Herta (Carlin), who started 12th after a disappointing qualifying and first race yesterday. The Californian made steady progress through the pack, passing Matheus Leist for fourth spot nine laps from the end. Racing Steps Foundation driver Josh Smith (Fortec) made excellent progress also, from 11th on the grid to fifth, and collected third place in the Rookie class behind Ticktum and Pull.

Scotsman Sandy Mitchell (TRS Arden) started three places behind Smith and finished sixth, 2s behind Josh, to underline his promise. Jack Barlow, a Saturday non-finisher for MBM, battled from the back to seventh, ahead of Leist, round one victor Lando Norris and Norris’s Carlin team-mate Petru Florescu.

The finishing order was completed by Jerseyman Jack Butel, Louise Richardson, Darius Karbaley and pit-stopper Baybutt. Spins brought an end to the race for Gustavo Myasava and Enaam Ahmed, with Tarun Reddy joining them, Martins and Fielding in retirement when the Indian driver’s Double R car suffered braking issues.
MSA Formula – Certified by FIA, Powered by Ford EcoBoost
Provisional results Round 2, Brands Hatch 5 April 2015
23 laps / 27.78 miles
1 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden 20m 29.856s / 81.32mph
2 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec +0.435s
3 James PULL / GBR / JTR +2.344s
4 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin +3.036s
5 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec +7.125s
6 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden +9.481s
7 Jack BARLOW / GBR / MBM +11.524s
8 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R +13.745s
9 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin +13.908s
10 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +14.474s etc

Fastest lap Ticktum 46.132s / 94.26mph Rec

Rookie class 1 Ticktum, 2 Smith, 3 Mitchell, 4 Florescu, 5 Darius KARBALEY / GBR / Falcon

Full results

Provisional championship standings
1 Ticktum 38 points; 2 Collard 35; 3 Norris 27; 4= Leist & Pull 19; 6 Herta 13; 7= Fielding & Baybutt 12; 9 Smith 11; 10 Mitchell 9 etc