Sandy Mitchell claims his maiden MSA Formula race victory with Ford EcoBoost power

  • Despite a slow start from the pole, TRS Arden driver Sandy Mitchell battles through to take a first win at the wheel of a car
  • Matheus Leist overcomes his lack of Thruxton knowledge to claim an impressive second, with Dan Baybutt making the overall podium for the first time

THRUXTON 9 MAY, 2015 – After dominating qualifying, 15-year-old Scottish track star Sandy Mitchell showed similar impressive style this afternoon at Thruxton to claim his maiden win at the wheel of a racing car. Sandy’s Ford EcoBoost-powered and TRS Arden-prepared machine took over at the sharp end of round seven of the MSA Formula Championship at mid-distance, fighting back after an indifferent start to beat Brazil’s Matheus Leist to the line by a second and a half.

It nearly all went wrong for Rookie racer Mitchell on the startline when he misjudged his getaway and threw away pole advantage, slipping to third behind Leist’s Double R car and the JHR Developments machine of Sennan Fielding. “I got too much wheelspin because I got the clutch position a bit wrong,” he said. “But I knew I had the pace and I was pretty sure that I’d be able to come through…”

Mitchell was awarded a breathing space to regroup and plan his attack when the safety car came on track at the end of the opening lap while stranded cars were retrieved from the circuit. At the restart on lap six he pounced on Fielding up Woodham Hill to secure second and then next time around seized the lead from Leist through Church.

Matheus, who had never seen Thruxton let alone driven it before today’s qualifying session, kept well in touch with Mitchell to the end but had no answer to Sandy’s speed. “It was hard because I had never been here before, no testing,” said the Brazilian. “I took P3 in qualifying, which was good, and this second place in the race is like a victory for me, it’s fantastic.”

Mitchell was similarly delighted: “This is my first win in a car, it’s very special, and a bit of a relief as well because I haven’t been getting the results I had hoped for. Hopefully now I can push on and win some more.”

The four-lap safety car interruption was brought about by a first-lap tangle involving several cars, including those of Petru Florescu (Carlin), Tarun Reddy (Double R) and Ameya Vaidyanathan. Separately, Ameya’s JTR team-mate James Pull also went off. The third JTR machine, of Dan Baybutt, survived the fracas. He said: “I got hit on the back corner and hit on the front corner, and it knocked my tracking out. I was lucky to get round and I was struggling a bit with understeer on some corners after that…”

There were plenty more dramas played out behind the leaders before flag fall, with Fielding’s third place coming under increasing pressure from Carlin man Lando Norris, culminating in a penultimate-lap clash between the two which led to Sennan’s retirement, a serious delay for Norris and a promotion to third place and his first overall podium for Baybutt.

After dropping as low as seventh with three laps to go, Hampshire hero Ricky Collard blasted through the mayhem to claim fourth at the line. “I made an average start and got pushed down the order a bit, but had the pace at the end to come through,” said Ricky, whose result helps him narrow his points deficit to championship leader Dan Ticktum to 21.

Ticktum enjoyed a better race than he did qualifying: his mysterious lack of pace in timed practice, which left his Fortec machine 17th on the grid, was diagnosed as a loose fire extinguisher rubbing on the ignition system. Dan’s rejuvenated car battled through to seventh by the end of the race, behind fifth-placed Colton Herta (Carlin) and Rafa Martins (SWB). Enaam Ahmed, who profited massively from the first-lap misfortunes of others to gain eight places, made it three Arden cars in the top eight.

Darius Karbaley hit the top 10 for the first time, racing to ninth for Falcon Motorsport, with Norris recovering from his late clash to finish 10th ahead of the cars of Jack Barlow, Louise Richardson, Jack Butel and Ollie Pidgley. Josh Smith completed the finishing order after losing time with a pit stop.

Racing resumes at Thruxton tomorrow, Sunday, with the reverse-grid race (which will see Ticktum starting from the pole) at 1045 and the MSA Formula finale live on ITV4 at 1515.

Provisional results Round 7, Thruxton, 9 May 2015
13 laps / 30.63 miles
1 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden 20m 54.035s / 87.92mph
2 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R +1.533s
3 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR +7.873s
4 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden +8.015s
5 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin +10.602s
6 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB +10.960s
7 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec +11.822s
8 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden +12.133s
9 Darius KARBALEY / GBR / Falcon +13.489s
10 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin +14.047s etc

Fastest lap Mitchell 1m 14.172s / 114.35mph Est Rec

Rookie class 1 Mitchell, 2 Baybutt, 3 Martins, 4 Ticktum, 5 Ahmed, 6 Darius KARBALEY / GBR / Falcon, 7 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec/

Full results

Provisional championship standings
1 Ticktum 120 points; 2 Collard 99; 3 Leist 83; 4 James Pull 77; 5 Norris 75; 6 Jack Barlow 46 etc
Rookie class 1 Ticktum 171; 2 Baybutt 116; 3 Ahmed 73, 4 Mitchell 71; 5 Smith 65; 6 Petru Florescu 59 etc