Collard on top in Silverstone thriller

  • Win number six for Ricky Collard to narrow points gap to championship leader Lando Norris
  • Collard snatches the win away from Sennan Fielding three laps from home

SILVERSTONE 27 SEPTEMBER, 2015 – Ricky Collard fought his way to the front to claim his sixth Ford EcoBoost-powered win of the MSA Formula season this morning, overpowering Sennan Fielding near the end of a tense and dramatic race played out in front of a bumper Silverstone BTCC crowd.

After a relatively low-key day in his TRS Arden machine yesterday, 19-year-old BRDC Rising Star Ricky was in no mood for compromise despite the disadvantage of a fifth-place grid slot for the 20-minute reverse-grid race. He claimed two scalps on the opening lap and then followed Fielding past early leader Dan Baybutt to hit second by the seventh lap. The ensuing 14 laps kept spectators enthralled as JHR Developments driver Fielding and Collard battled to decide the outcome.

Ricky’s first serious challenge came at the end of lap 17 as they entered Luffield, Collard drawing alongside his rival before Fielding closed the door to maintain his advantage. Ricky regrouped and staged another Luffield assault next time around as Sennan took a slightly wider line; it was enough of a gap for Collard to impose himself on the inside and run side by side with Fielding down the pits straight, crossing the line one-thousandth of a second ahead before Ricky made his overtake secure through Copse at the start of the 19th tour.

An unsettled Fielding had no time to think about repassing: his mirrors were suddenly full of the Fortec car of Dan Ticktum, which had battled back to third after losing ground in the early laps. Collard crossed the line six-tenths clear of Fielding, with Ticktum a further four-hundredths behind for third place. Ticktum was later excluded from the results of the Silverstone meeting.

“I made a really good start,” said a jubilant Collard, “I think the best start I made all season. I knew it really had to count. The first 10 minutes of the race was absolutely frantic – I had Sowery attacking me really hard from behind, and so was Ticktum, and I was trying to attack Fielding… It was a really, really enjoyable race. I knew I had one shot at taking the lead and I was trying to work out where I was stronger than him. Luffield had to be the place. He made a bit of a mistake going into Brooklands and I managed to get inside him – one of my best moves of the season – and we were rubbing wheels all the way around Luffield and all the way down the main straight at 120mph. These Ford EcoBoost cars absolutely awesome to drive. All credit to Sennan, too – we raced hard but we raced fair.”

Added Sennan: “Ricky hit me quite hard a couple of times during the race, including on the first lap, which sent me wide – that caused quite a loss of rear-end grip. Then there was contact at Luffield, where he managed to get in front.”

Ticktum and MBM Motorsport driver Toby Sowery battled tooth and nail for much of the race. Sowery crossed the line behind him for fourth but alas was deemed to have exceeded track limits on several occasions, netting him 15 seconds in penalties to drop him well down the finishing order.

With Sowery’s penalty and Ticktum’s exclusion, third thus went the way of Double R’s Matheus Leist, with JTR’s Baybutt, who led the opening six laps after getting a better start from P2 on the grid than did pole man Sandy Mitchell, classified fourth. Colton Herta was Carlin’s leading finisher in fifth, just ahead of top-10 returnee Rafael Martins for SWB Motorsport.

Saturday race victor and championship leader Lando Norris took seventh for Carlin, with Jack Butel scoring a personal-best eighth at the wheel of his JHR Developments car. TRS Arden man Mitchell, who was penalised five seconds for track limits, completed the top nine ahead of Carlin’s Petru Florescu and Enaam Ahmed (TRS Arden). The penalised Sowery was classified 12th with the top 15 completed by Darius Karbaley for Falcon Motorsport, Tarun Reddy for Double R and Fortec’s Josh Smith.

Amended provisional results Round 26 Silverstone 27 September 2015
21 laps / 34.45 miles
1 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden 20m 21.285s / 101.54 mph
2 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +0.693s
3 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R +1.889s
4 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR +5.661s
5 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin +8.467s
6 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB +8.954s
7 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin +9.307s
8 Jack BUTEL / GBR / JHR +11.206s
9 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden +13.718s
10 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +14.299s etc
Fastest lap Collard 57.110s / 103.40mph

Rookie class 1 Baybutt; 2 Martins; 3 Mitchell; 4 Florescu; 5 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden; 6 Darius KARBALEY / GBR / Falcon; 7 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec

Full times

 

TEAM NEWS: Collard and Mitchell reign at Rockingham

TRS Arden drivers Sandy Mitchell & Ricky Collard with (right) Sennan Fielding

Report supplied by team PR

TEAM NEWS 10 SEPTEMBER, 2015 – It was a mixed weekend for TRS Arden for rounds 22, 23 and 24 of the MSA Formula Championship held at Rockingham Circuit, Corby.

Testing on Friday was very close, with less than one second covering the top 11 drivers at Rockingham. Championship leader Ricky Collard was second fastest in the morning session just 0.176s off Carlin’s Lando Norris. After struggling to post a quicker time in the afternoon, Ricky ended up being fifth fastest overall on Friday just beating team mate Enaam to complete the top five. Enaam had a positive day finishing in the top six in both the morning and afternoon free practise sessions. Sandy’s morning session came to an end early doors after carrying too much speed in the chicane causing him to brush the wall as he came out on to the unyielding nature of Rockingham’s pit straight. However, in the afternoon he managed ninth fastest overall.

It was looking to be a wet qualifying on Saturday after early morning downpours, however, due to not being the first cars on circuit, a dry line soon appeared. Ricky had a disastrous qualifying after hooking a wheel on the kerb out of Gracelands (turn 8) and slid sideways into the barriers. This put an end to his session bringing out the red flags just 10 minutes in. Enaam posted the sixth fastest time and Sandy Mitchell completed the top 10.

Enaam had a great start in race one past Leist [Double R] and Fielding [JHR Developments] into fourth place, which is where he finished. Ricky made the best of his difficult situation, starting from 20th he managed to make seven places up by the end of lap one which saw him in 13th just before the safety car was deployed which then gave him a great opportunity to attack to finish in a good position for the reverse grid race. Sandy made a good start from 10th and got into 9th before the first corner before dropping back to 10th as Fortec’s Josh Smith gained his place back from Sandy. Sandy went on to finish 10th just missing out on the reverse grid pole position for race two. JTR’s Daniel Baybutt was given a 10-second penalty from eighth after misjudging the start which then gave Sandy pole and Ricky second for the reverse grid in race two on Sunday morning.

A great race for Arden’s junior MSA Formula team on Sunday morning, which saw all three drivers finish in the top six. Sandy made a great start from pole position, whilst Ricky suffered from wheel spin but managed to defend his second place until he took the lead on lap two, turn two from team mate Sandy. Ricky then managed to control his lead from there taking his fifth win of the season. Enaam brought home more solid consistent points, closely behind Sandy and Ricky, in sixth place from eighth on the grid. JHR’s Sennan Fielding took second place from Sandy after the safety car pulled in on lap four. Sandy finished third and claimed the Rookie class win.

Enaam was in the hunt for a podium finish with being the only front runner with new tyres for race three by lap five, he had made it into fourth which was unfortunately taken away from him on lap five due to a drive-through penalty. Sandy was also unfortunate of a drive-through penalty after also lying in fourth at the point when the penalty was issued. Ricky again had to drive from 20th and last on the grid, the legacy of his qualifying incident. However he made great progress and secured another eighth place finish to bring home some points.

Ricky Collard: “I apologise to the team for the mistake I made in qualifying, it cost us a great deal of points. The determination to succeed has been a real backbone in keeping my championship hopes alive. Another win at the weekend shows we still have the ability to win the championship and with a fresh mind at Silverstone I feel positive we can push for more wins and more importantly the championship.”

Sandy Mitchell: “I had a strong ninth place finish in race one. It was great to be back on the overall podium in race two and the top step of the rookie podium. It’s a shame that I was given a drive through penalty in error in race three. Now looking forward to Silverstone. Thanks to TRS Arden and all my sponsors.”

Enaam Ahmed: “We had some good top-five finishes and I’m very happy with the points we scored. Disappointed with the last race as I felt there was a podium on the cards but this makes me hungrier for Silverstone.”

Collard sprints to victory at the Rock

  • Ricky gets his title bid back on track with a fifth win of the year in MSA Formula
  • Sennan Fielding takes second and more valuable championship points
  • Sandy Mitchell third and the Rookie class victor

ROCKINGHAM 6 SEPTEMBER, 2015 – Ricky Collard underlined his commitment to winning the MSA Formula Championship title this morning, the TRS Arden driver claiming his fifth Ford EcoBoost-powered win of the season at Rockingham. After his qualifying accident and his top-eight finish in yesterday’s race, victory was exactly what the 19-year-old was aiming for and needed, and he delivered in spades.

Ricky took the lead from his fast-starting team-mate Sandy Mitchell, who led the opening lap from the pole. As they swung from the banking into the tricky Deene hairpin on lap two, Collard nosed in front and quickly built a useful advantage.

Though that lead was wiped out by a brief safety car period, Collard re-established his advantage at the restart and kept a second’s gap between himself and Sennan Fielding – who passed Mitchell for P2 at Deene on the sixth lap – to win by 1.8s.

“I needed to do that,” said Ricky. “To get another win under my belt is good. Sandy made a lightning start but I managed to get him after the first lap and control the race from there. I’m close to the lead of the championship again now and this is MSA Formula, so who knows what’s going to happen in the coming races…”

JHR Developments driver Fielding, who started fourth on the grid behind Mitchell, Collard and Carlin’s Petru Florescu, took his 10th podium finish of the season to consolidate his championship third. Said Sennan: “It was a great race and the car felt good – we made a few changes from yesterday and that helped massively. Another strong result. My plan is to stay out of trouble and keep whacking in the points – there are still a lot of points to be grabbed even though it’s coming to the end stage of the championship.”

After slipping to third, 15-year-old Mitchell resisted the attentions of Double R’s Matheus Leist to secure his first overall podium finish since his Thruxton race wins. “I had a good start and led for a lap but the tow was quite strong around the banking and Ricky managed to get me on the brakes into the hairpin,” said Sandy. “Sennan went past me at the same point; after that I managed to settle down and put in some good lap times and keep Matheus behind me. I’m really happy to be back on the podium with third place.”

Mitchell also claimed the Rookie class win – his third of the season – with class points leader Dan Ticktum (Fortec) the runner-up thanks to his fifth-place finish behind Leist. Enaam Ahmed made it three Arden drivers in the overall top six.

There was a great battle over seventh place disputed by Carlin team-mates Colton Herta and Lando Norris, and MBM driver Toby Sowery. From the back of the grid, Sowery shot through to 13th on the opening lap and made steady progress up to ninth and on to Norris’s tail by the sixth lap. Toby snuck past Lando at Deene on lap 11 but an attempted repeat on Colton at the same corner two laps later ended in failure and Norris was able to repass Sowery. Thus Herta took seventh at the line ahead of Saturday victor Norris, with Sowery ninth and JTR’s Indian racer Ameya Vaidyanathan 10th to record his maiden top-10 finish.

Florescu dropped to the rear of the pack on the second lap and battled back to finish 11th, ahead of JHR man Jack Butel, JTR’s Dan Baybutt, and Fortec’s James Pull, who suffered a knock early on which left his steering out of kilter. Josh Smith (Fortec) and Greg Holloway (Richardson Racing) completed the finishing order, with Tarun Reddy (Double R) and Louise Richardson (Richardson Racing) both retiring with mechanical gremlins. Jess Hawkins (Falcon) suffered broken suspension after a collision, and Rafa Martins’ race ended on the opening lap after he attacked a ‘sausage kerb’ too aggressively and damaged his SWB car’s suspension – it was his incident which required the early safety car period.

The ITV4 live-televised Rockingham finale follows at 1550.

Provisional results Round 23 Rockingham 6 September 2015
14 laps / 27.16 miles
1 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden 20m 10.127s / 80.79mph
2 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +1.193s
3 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden +3.954s
4 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R +5.111s
5 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec +9.132s
6 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden +10.485s
7 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin +17.512s
8 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin +17.803s
9 Toby SOWERY / GBR / MBM +17.999s
10 Ameya VAIDYANATHAN / IND / JTR +19.567s etc
Fastest lap Fielding 1m 19.186s / 88.19mph

Rookie class 1 Mitchell; 2 Ticktum; 3 Ahmed; 4 Vaidyanathan; 5 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin; 6 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR; 7 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec

Provisional championship standings
1 Norris 306 points; 2 Collard 304; 3 Fielding 260; 4 Ticktum 245; 5 Herta 228; 6 Leist 201; 7 Mitchell 158; 8 Ahmed 115; 9 James Pull 90; 10 Tarun Reddy 81 etc
Rookie class 1 Ticktum 401; 2 Mitchell 309; 3 Ahmed 308; 4 Florescu 264; 5 Baybutt 247 etc

Full times

Title battle intensifies as Ford-powered racers head to Rockingham

  • Four points between Collard and Norris, with Fielding up to third overall and closing in

1 SEPTEMBER, 2015 – Just nine races remain over which to decide the outcome of the inaugural MSA Formula Championship, and which of the Ford EcoBoost-powered youngsters will race away with the title FIA Formula 4 Champion of Great Britain.

The first three of those nine outings come this weekend (4/5 September) at Northamptonshire’s Rockingham Motor Speedway, where championship leader Ricky Collard will be battling to defend his slender points lead after a weekend of mixed fortunes at Knockhill last month both for him and his chief rival, Lando Norris.

Carlin’s 15-year-old star Norris won the first Knockhill race with Collard’s TRS Arden car retiring after sustaining damage; in race two it was Norris’s turn to suffer a race-ending knock while Collard chased from the back of the grid to seventh; and in the third race Collard claimed the win with Norris finishing a slightly beaten-up seventh.

The big victor in Scotland was JHR Developments driver Sennan Fielding, who was in the right places at the right times to profit from the misfortunes of others. Sennan came away with a win and two thirds to move into championship third, within striking distance of Collard and Norris should they suffer further misfortune. Norris has now collected five race wins this season, Collard four and Fielding three.

If there is uncertainty in the main championship, the outcome of the Rookie class is in little doubt with Fortec driver Dan Ticktum well on course to claim the championship honours thanks to 11 class wins from 21 races. Who will finish the year as his Rookie runner-up looks to be between Collard’s TRS Arden team-mates Enaam Ahmed and Sandy Mitchell, both of whom shone at Knockhill, with Ahmed making the overall podium for the first time.

Double karting World Champion Ahmed,15, will arrive at Rockingham on the crest of a wave having claimed his maiden car-racing victories last weekend at Parnu, Estonia, in the SMP F4 Championship.

The season’s other MSA Formula race winners are Carlin’s Colton Herta, who did the double at Snetterton, Fortec Rookie Josh Smith and Double R’s Matheus Leist. Rockingham is a local track for Grantham-based Louise Richardson and the Richardson Racing team, and also hoping to do well on home turf will be Nick Tandy’s Pavenham-based JTR team, whose driver is Dan Baybutt, last on the podium at the high-speed Thruxton track.

Rockingham timetable
Friday 4 September  0950 & 1350 Testing
Saturday 5 September  1020 Qualifying, 1425 Round 22
Sunday 6 September  1020 Round 23, 1550 Round 24

On TV  Live ITV4 Sunday from 1545

Collard attacks to claim victory in Knockhill finale, and retake series lead

  • Ricky battles through from third on the grid to take MSA Formula win number four
  • Penalty drops early leader Dan Ticktum as Colton Herta and Sennan Fielding complete the podium

KNOCKHILL 23 AUGUST, 2015 – An impressive drive under heavy pressure at Knockhill this afternoon netted Ricky Collard his fourth Ford EcoBoost-powered win of the MSA Formula season, and with it the championship lead he lost yesterday to Lando Norris. Collard took over in front after three laps when Dan Ticktum was ordered to the pits for jumping the start, and held on in front of Carlin man Colton Herta to win by a margin of just 0.6s.

Ricky, whose TRS Arden car started third on the grid behind Ticktum’s Fortec machine and Carlin man Norris, was on a mission from the outset, seizing second place from Norris as they headed into the Hairpin on the opening lap. Thanks to his anticipated start, Ticktum was already 1.6s ahead by the end of lap one, and he built his advantage over Collard to two seconds before answering his summons for a drive-through.

Herta passed his team-mate Norris for second on lap four and proved an unshakeable presence in Collard’s mirrors, not least when the Safety Car was called into play after a ninth-lap clash of wheels at the Hairpin between Petru Florescu and Josh Smith left Florescu’s car stranded at the side of the track.

Collard gunned it at the restart on lap 13 but Herta misjudged and slipped back, allowing Ricky to extend the lead to a useful, but far from comfortable, 0.8s. By lap 18 Collard was 1.4s in front and looking set for victory – and then on the penultimate tour he made a mistake through Hislop’s which allowed his American rival to close right in once again. A do-or-die final lap secured the win for Ricky.

Said Ricky: “I dropped a wheel on the apex on the entry and that cost me really badly. I was pushing so hard to try to get the point for fastest lap. That lap was going really well and then all of a sudden… It gave me a bit of a kick and I asked myself what I thought I was doing! I knew then that I really had to go hard at it on the final lap. The first race of this weekend was a bit of a disaster for me but I think in the future I will be able to look back on Knockhill and know I gave it 100 per cent.”

Herta knew where he had lost the battle: “If I hadn’t messed up the restart I would have had a chance… I didn’t remember where the safety car would be pulling in – I thought it was further up the track. When I realised it was too late.”

From sixth on the grid, Sennan Fielding (JHR Developments) moved into fourth place on the second lap and, with Ticktum’s penalty, he collected third place and a hat-trick of Knockhill podium visits. Said Sennan: “What a weekend: I can’t really believe I’ve had three podiums. We’ve not had the outright pace here but it just shows that it’s not always about pace. Now the championship has closed up a lot and I’m looking forward to the next three events.”

Collard’s TRS Arden team-mate Enaam Ahmed continued his strong run of recent form to take fourth and the Rookie class victory. Said Enaam after completing his hat-trick of top-five overall finishes: “It’s been a really good weekend – all top-five finishes – and I’m really happy and looking forward to taking it on to Rockingham. I had a good battle with Sennan but he defended really well and I couldn’t pass him.”

Scottish driver Sandy Mitchell was another beaming Arden man with a trio of top-five results, this time fifth at his home circuit, just ahead of SWB Motorsport’s Rafael Martins. Norris finished a subdued seventh, a couple of tenths in front of Ticktum, with Louise Richardson (Richardson Racing) claiming ninth and Fortec’s Josh Smith completing the top 10. The remaining finishers were Matheus Leist, who started from pit lane after pre-start technical dramas, Ollie Pidgley, Jack Butel and Jessica Hawkins.

Joining Florescu in retirement were Day Baybutt, Tarun Reddy (after a clash with Ticktum and a high-speed bounce through the gravel) and James Pull, who suffered a broken wheel on the green flag lap.

Provisional results Round 21 Knockhill 23 August 2015
20 laps / 25.34 miles
1 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden 17m 57.031s / 84.69mph
2 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin +0.656s
3 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +3.413s
4 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden +3.851s
5 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden +4.459s
6 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB +7.160s
7 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin +8.895s
8 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec +9.141s
9 Louise RICHARDSON / GBR / Richardson +12.334s
10 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec +13.864s etc
Fastest lap Herta 50.389s / 90.51mph

Rookie class 1 Ahmed; 2 Mitchell; 3 Martins; 4 Ticktum; 5 Smith

Provisional championship standings
1 Collard 275; 2 Norris 271; 3 Fielding 233; 4 Ticktum 217; 5 Herta 207; 6 Leist 179; 7 Mitchell 141;  8 Ahmed 95;  9 James Pull 88; 10 Tarun Reddy 80 etc
Rookie class 1 Ticktum 352; 2 Ahmed 275; 3 Mitchell 272; 4 Petru Florescu 239; 5 Daniel Baybutt 234 etc

Full times

Ford-powered racers revved up for Snetterton

  • Ricky Collard leads the MSA Formula title hunters to Norfolk
  • Louise Richardson hoping to capitalise on her first podium finish

31 JULY, 2015 – The long summer break is almost over and for the contenders in the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship next weekend’s (8/9 August) resumption of racing action at Snetterton in Norfolk cannot come soon enough.

With 15 races run and 15 to go, just 25 points separate the leading contenders seeking the inaugural MSA Formula crown – and the FIA Formula 4 Champion of Great Britain title which accompanies it. With three race wins under his belt and five second-place finishes in addition, Ricky Collard, son of BTCC star Rob, starts the second half of the season in the box seat.

Collard, who turned 19 yesterday (Thursday), has been a cool and consistent finisher all year, but he knows that he will need to maintain his recent improvements in qualifying form if he is to maintain his championship lead, which is under threat from 15-year-old Lando Norris, who has yet to qualify outside the top two and who has gone on to record four race victories for the Carlin team.

The tussle between Collard and Norris will be complicated by a host of other drivers looking to get in on the act. The first half of the season saw seven different race winners, with TRS Arden man Sandy Mitchell, JHR Developments driver Sennan Fielding and Fortec’s Dan Ticktum claiming two victories each. Brazilian ace Matheus Leist (Double R) and Racing Steps Foundation driver Josh Smith (Fortec) took a win apiece, and all of the above have the speed and opportunity to claim further silverware.

A number of the frontrunners have been keeping their eye in during the MSA Formula season break by racing around the world. Fielding is due this weekend to make his UFS2000 Championship debut at Mid-Ohio, while Leist will be in action for the Double R team at Austria’s Red Bull Ring in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Ticktum last weekend made his Formula Renault 2.0 NEC debut, claiming a pair of top-15 finishes at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

Meanwhile, law student Louise Richardson has been busy working as an paralegal intern during her break from racing. The 22-year-old is keeping her focus on the top step of the podium after her season turned a corner in June at Croft, where she scored her maiden podium, bracketed by a brace of top-five finishes at the wheel of her Richardson Racing-prepared car.

“Croft went really well,” said Louise. “We were all a bit disheartened after the Oulton Park rounds because we had such a miserable weekend there, so we were not looking forward to Croft as much as would have normally. But the team worked so hard on the car and changed so much on it… The attitude was ‘if it doesn’t work, then we have nothing to lose and at least we tried…’ but it did work.

“It was a combination of changes: I went to a simulator before Croft, which helped the driving side, and so many things were changed on the car. The combination gave us such a strong package and hopefully we can keep it up for Snetterton. We are still testing and trying new things, still working away at it and finding more time, and I need to continue to drive like I did at Croft. I quite like Snetterton, so hopefully the fact that I enjoy the circuit will help.” Louise’s regular team-mate, Ollie Pidgley, will be in action in Norfolk also and seeking to net a top-10 finish.

There will be plenty more talent on the Snetterton grid… Norris’s Carlin colleagues Colton Herta and Petru Florescu enjoyed their most competitive showings of the year last time out with 15-year-old Californian Herta following Smith home for second place in the Croft reverse-grid race and Romania’s Florescu taking an overall fourth and his maiden Rookie class win.

Falcon Motorsport duo Jessica Hawkins and Darius Karbaley will be looking for further strong results, as will the trio of quick drivers from JTR: Dan Baybutt, James Pull and Ameya Vaidyanathan. Jack Barlow is set to return with MBM after skipping a meeting, and then there is Double R’s Tarun Reddy, who will be buoyed by scoring his first podium finish at Croft, Jerseyman Jack Butel, now racing with Fielding for JHR Developments, and the TRS Arden team’s third man, kart champion Enaam Ahmed. Rafa Martins will meanwhile be hoping for a return to the form which brought him a podium finish at Thruxton and a top-four result at Oulton Park for the SWB Motorsport team.

The Snetterton action begins with two timed official test sessions next Friday, followed on Saturday by qualifying and the first of the weekend’s three races. Sunday afternoon’s finale will be screened live on ITV4.

Snetterton timetable
Fri 7 Aug: 1040 & 1440 Testing
Sat 8 Aug: 1100 Qualifying, 1510 Round 16
Sun 9 Aug: 0920 Round 17, 1520 Round 18 (live ITV4)

Fast-starting Collard sprints to victory at Oulton Park

  • Ricky Collard overhauls pole man Lando Norris to claim his second win of the season
  • Carlton Herta third for his maiden podium finish
  • Rafael Martins the Rookie class victor for the first time

OULTON PARK 6 JUNE, 2015 – Ricky Collard delivered as he promised after qualifying a ‘Collard special’ start to take control from the outset of the 10th round of the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship this afternoon. The TRS Arden driver outgunned pole man Lando Norris (Carlin) to lead into Old Hall corner; though Norris tried his hardest to find a way past him it was Collard still in front after 13 laps of dicing.

Ricky crossed the line four-tenths ahead of Lando to collect his second win of the season and extend his championship lead. The Hampshireman was delighted with his victory, not least because he had to cope with a lengthy safety car period and subsequent restart: “The Collard start is back again. That went perfectly and I knew that once I had got in front it would be so important to use my experience. I pushed really hard and built a gap, and then the safety car came out, which was a bit of a shame. The restart was really good though and while Lando caught me towards the end and I made a couple of mistakes, they weren’t big enough to let him get back past. Someone has to challenge Carlin and I think we are doing a pretty good job.”

Norris’s Carlin team-mate Colton Herta pulled off the overtake of the race to secure third, his maiden podium finish of the year. The American – youngest driver in the race – held fourth behind SWB Motorsport’s Rafael Martins up to the ninth lap, and lined the Brazilian up perfectly to slot ahead of him on lap 10. Colton went on to set the fastest lap in his pursuit of the leading duo, crossing the line a second behind victor Collard.

Said Herta: “I had some good runs at Martins but couldn’t take advantage of them. Finally I got him when he didn’t think I was going to do it; I got him under braking and he couldn’t defend. I’m not disappointed that it has taken me this long to make the podium because I think it shows how much I have grown. I have been working hard at it.”

Martins felt there was something amiss with his car: “I think for sure there was something wrong with the left rear.” Nonetheless he held on for fourth at the line and with it his maiden Rookie class win, and with it Ford’s £500 cash prize.

Matheus Leist (Double R) and Jack Barlow (MBM) held fifth and sixth places respectively all the way from opening lap to chequered flag. Dan Ticktum (Fortec) would have finished behind them for seventh but for a technical issue on the final lap which cost him two places. Carlin’s Petru Florescu nipped ahead of Ticktum for seventh (and second in the Rookie class) and Sennan Fielding took advantage also to secure eighth for the JHR Developments squad.

Dan Baybutt survived an opening-lap punt from behind at the hairpin, and subsequent understeer, to take 10th place and with it pole position for this afternoon’s reverse-grid sprint race. The top 15 was completed by Tarun Reddy’s Double R machine, Josh Smith in the Racing Steps Foundation-backed car, Sandy Mitchell (Arden), Louise Richardson (Richardson Racing) and Enaam Ahmed (Arden), who battled through from penultimate place on the grid. Championship debutant Jessica Hawkins claimed 19th for Falcon.

The other newcomer, Toby Sowery, spun off on the second lap, his Fortec car coming to rest in a dangerous position, which prompted the safety car call. JTR’s James Pull was a lap-one spinner and retiree.

Provisional results Round 10 Oulton Park 6 June 2015
13 laps / 28.94 miles
1 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden 20m 56.608s / 82.90mph
2 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin +0.447s
3 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin +1.028s
4 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB +4.033s
5 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R +4.664s
6 Jack BARLOW / GBR / MBM +7.440s
7 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +9.585s
8 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +9.805s
9 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec +9.828s
10 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR +10.116s etc

Fastest lap Herta 1m 23.195s / 96.32mph Est Rec

Rookie class 1 Martins, 2 Florescu, 3 Ticktum, 4 Baybutt, 5 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec, 6 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden, 7 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden, 8 Darius KARBALEY / GBR / Falcon, 9 Ameya VAIDYANATHAN / IND / JTR.

Grid for Round 11 Baybutt – Ticktum – Fielding – Florescu – Barlow – Leist – Martins – Herta – Norris – Collard etc

Full results

Provisional championship standings
1 Collard 155 points; 2 Norris 138; 3 Ticktum 122; 4 Leist 115; 5 Mitchell 87; 6 James Pull 78; 7 Herta 65; 8 Barlow 56; 9 Martins 52; 10 Fielding 47 etc
Rookie class 1 Ticktum 186; 2 Baybutt 132; 3 Mitchell 131; 4 Martins 119; 5 Ahmed 106; 6 Florescu 105 etc

Oulton Park challenge beckons for Ford EcoBoost-powered racers

  • MSA Formula back on track in Cheshire with Ricky Collard defending a slender championship lead
  • JTR’s Dan Baybutt hoping home-track support will help him back on to the podium

31 May, 2015 – After a month’s break from racing, the young stars of Ford’s junior single-seater series MSA Formula will be back in action next weekend (6/7 June) at the fast and daunting Oulton Park circuit. With five different race winners from nine races so far this season, and with just 25 points separating the top four in the title chase, there is plenty of drama set to unfold at the Cheshire circuit.

Ricky Collard, 18-year-old son of BTCC racer Rob, leads the Ford EcoBoost-powered championship to Cheshire thanks to his consistent finishing record – one win and three seconds so far – for the TRS Arden team. But Ricky is set to face a stiff threat to his slender points advantage from several drivers, not least mercurial 15-year-olds Dan Ticktum, Lando Norris and Sandy Mitchell.

Norris was the dominant force at Brands Hatch in April, winning twice for Carlin, and followed up with a third win at Thruxton in early May; he’s currently third in the standings behind Fortec flier Ticktum, the Donington double winner who is looking to bounce back from the mechanical dramas which blunted his challenge at Thruxton.

It was Collard’s TRS Arden team-mate Mitchell who showed everyone the way around Thruxton, the Scotsman claiming twin wins and a second-place finish to erase the memories of a frustrating start to his car-racing career. The other race winner of 2015 is Brazilian talent Matheus Leist, who triumphed for Double R at Donington and who was close to the sharp end at Thruxton also, despite never having seen the circuit ahead of qualifying.

JTR driver Dan Baybutt is hoping to enter victory lane soon, and his home circuit of Oulton would be the ideal venue. The Southport-based 17-year-old made it on to the overall MSA Formula podium for the first time in the Thruxton weekend opener but suffered a couple of mishaps in races two and three which cost him any chance of a follow-up.

“I’ve spent a lot of time since Thruxton reviewing the video of my races, where I was quick and able to come through the field, to see how I can improve on it,” said Dan. “I’m quite confident about Oulton Park – it’s the closest track to home and I’ll have a lot of family and friends there to cheer me on. It should be a good weekend and I’m aiming to do well.”

A rain-hit test session last week at Silverstone may not have provided Baybutt and the JTR team with much in the way of valuable test data, but it proved his car had suffered no lasting ill-effects from the damage it sustained at Thruxton. “It was a good check that the car was OK and helped me to get back into the feel of it. I’ve only had one day of testing at Oulton so far, so it’s going to be a challenge but again I’ve been looking at the data and I know where I can improve and make up time.”

The championship’s other top-10 men currently are Baybutt’s JTR team-mate James Pull, Carlin’s Colton Herta, 15-year-old son of IndyCar race winner Bryan, who is looking to make it to the podium for the first time, and two of MSA Formula’s more experienced runners, 19-year-old Sennan Fielding (JHR Developments) and Jack Barlow (MBM), who turns 20 the Monday after the Oulton Park rounds. After leading at Thruxton and scoring his maiden overall podium for the SWB Motorsport team, Brazilian 16-year-old Rafa Martins will be hopeful of joining them in the top 10.

Twenty-year-old Jess Hawkins will make her MSA Formula debut at Oulton Park, joining the Falcon Motorsport team alongside talented Rochdale racer Darius Karbaley. Jess will be the second female on the Oulton grid, joining Richardson Racing’s Louise Richardson.

Also back in action in Cheshire will be SWB’s Jack Butel, Carlin’s Romanian racer Petru Florescu, Indian chargers Tarun Reddy (Double R) and Ameya Vaidyanathan (JTR), Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver Josh Smith (Fortec), and Arden’s rookie Enaam Ahmed. Richardson Racing driver Ollie Pidgley says he can’t wait for Oulton: “It’s one of my favourites and I’m now in a car I’m really dialled-into. It should be awesome…”

There are two official test sessions at Oulton Park scheduled for Friday, with qualifying and two races on Saturday followed by a Sunday afternoon BTCC-supporting finale.

Oulton Park timetable
Friday 5 June
1130-1215 & 1540-1625 testing
Saturday 6 June
0930 Qualifying
1420 Race 1; 1750 Race 2
Sunday 7 June
1450 Race 3

Collard bids to lead home the Ford-powered MSA Formula racers at Thruxton

  • Hampshire driver Ricky hoping for home-track advantage as he bids to improve his qualifying performance and bag more EcoBoost race wins
  • Daniel Ticktum leads championship and Rookie class after solid start to his maiden season of racing

2 May, 2015 – After scoring one race win and a hat-trick of podium finishes in the opening two meetings of the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship season, Hampshireman Ricky Collard is ready to step up his performances next weekend (9/10 May) at his home circuit of Thruxton.

The 18-year-old Eversley-based TRS Arden driver has been one of the consistently quick drivers, not once in six races finishing outside the top six, and knows exactly where he needs to improve if he is to displace his 15-year-old rival Dan Ticktum as the consistent race winner. “I just haven’t extracted the most from myself in qualifying: I have been too aggressive on the tyres and that has compromised my performance,” says Ricky, son of BTCC racer Rob Collard.

“Aggression has paid off for me in the races – that’s why I have managed to come through the field to finish well, because of my aggression. I have no problem in fighting my way through in the races, but if I can improve in qualifying and start more races from the front, then I can finish more races at the front.”

Collard was pleased with his performance in pre-event testing at Thruxton, where he ended the day third fastest overall behind championship leader Ticktum and TRS Arden driver Sandy Mitchell, and also with the way his 1.6-litre turbocharged Ford EcoBoost engine has performed: “The engine has been great because they are all so equally balanced across the field; no-one has a power advantage and the reliability has been excellent. Testing went well for me at Thruxton and I am going there with the expectation of winning. I am not looking for a top-five finish; I am there purely to win. It adds a bit more pressure, but it’s great to have a home race, because all my sponsors, family and friends will be there.”

It is Fortec driver Ticktum who has the championship momentum; he leads Collard by a handsome 27 points after executing two impeccable pole-to-flag wins at Donington Park last month. Ticktum, new to car racing this year, is so far unbeaten in the championship’s rookie class.

With four different winners in the opening six races, Ford’s new MSA Formula has got away to a spectacularly competitive and exciting start, not least because four of those Ford EcoBoost-powered races have been won by super-talented 15-year-olds. Carlin man Lando Norris is the other double winner thanks to his successes at Brands Hatch in early April but, after a middling time at Donington, Lando is only fourth in the championship and is looking to regain lost ground.

The other race winner is Double R’s exciting 16-year-old Brazilian talent Matheus Leist, who romped away with the Donington reverse-grid race from the pole to mark himself down as one to watch. With three podiums under his belt, JTR’s James Pull is looking like a contender for race victory soon, with his team-mate Dan Baybutt not far behind and shaping up to be Ticktum’s chief rival for rookie class honours.

MBM’s Jack Barlow has some less than fond memories of Thruxton – it was there a year ago that he crashed in Formula Ford testing and brought a premature end to his season. He’s bounced back well from injury and the disappointment, however, and two fourth-place MSA Formula finishes suggest he will be a podium visitor soon.

JHR Developments driver Sennan Fielding was a Donington podium man and has been quick at every circuit so far visited, including Thruxton, where he topped one of last month’s test sessions. The other championship top-10 men are Colton Herta, youngest in the field and showing signs of steady improvement as he gets to grips with his Carlin machine, and Leist’s team-mate and countryman, Gustavo Myasava, who has proved spectacular on occasion.

Collard will not be the only Hampshire driver in action next weekend: 17-year-old Ollie Pidgley, from Downton, made his debut at Donington and will return at Thruxton with Richardson Racing, alongside Louise Richardson. Louise, the only non-teenager in the field, should be one to watch as she gains experience with the MSA Formula chassis.

Arden team-mates Sandy Mitchell and Enaam Ahmed are closely matched in speed and results so far – and came rather too close to each other at Donington – and both undoubtedly have the speed to get on terms with the frontrunners before long, and the same is more than true of Ticktum’s Fortec running mate, Josh Smith, who is backed by the Racing Steps Foundation.

SWB Motorsport’s Rafael Martins impressed with his pace at Brands Hatch but spent more time off the track at Donington than on it… If the Brazilian can keep his head next weekend he will be at or near the front. The championship top 15 is completed by Double R’s Tarun Reddy, who is one of two Indian drivers in the series, the other being JTR’s Ameya Vaidyanathan. Falcon’s Darius Karbaley has been a steady rookie improver, as has Carlin’s Romanian talent Petru Florescu, with Jerseyman Jack Butel settling in well at SWB Motorsport.

Thruxton timetable
Saturday 9 May 1100 Qualifying; 1500 Race 1
Sunday 10 May 1045 Race 2; 1515 Race 3

On TV Live ITV4 & itv.com/btcc Sunday 1515

Event details & tickets thruxtonracing.co.uk

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