DRIVER NEWS: Jamie Caroline and Pirtek Racing eager to impress at Croft

Supplied by driver’s PR

15 JUNE, 2016 – Pirtek Racing’s rising star Jamie Caroline will hope to build on his double podium last time out at Oulton Park as the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford heads for Croft for the fifth round of the year.

The teenager makes the journey to North Yorkshire sitting eight in the championship standings, with his third and fourth podium finishes of the year having allowed him to close the gap to a number of his rivals ahead.

The 17-year-old, who was a double winner at Croft last year en-route to the Ginetta Jr Championship, will be keen to build on an encouraging performance in testing at the circuit last month, where he lapped within six tenths of a second of the pace despite only running on one of the two days.

Jamie will also have added reason to impress as his maiden single-seater campaign reaches the half-way stage, with Croft marking his debut for the Fortec Motorsport team.

Having impressed in the opening four rounds for Jamun Racing, Jamie will seek to help Fortec strengthen it’s championship challenge during the weekend ahead, with more podiums being the target from the trip to the North East.

“I’ve picked up some good results so far this season and hopefully there are more to come at Croft this weekend,” he said.

“While I have four podium finishes already, I really want to get onto the top step and it would be a great way to go into the summer break if I could get my first victory of the year.

“It would also be the perfect way to celebrate my debut with Fortec and I feel confident that I can go to Croft and challenge towards the front of the field.”

After qualifying on Saturday 18 June at 10.50, the first of three F4 British Championship races will be at 15.25 later that day, with race two at 13.17 and race three at 17.46 on Sunday. Sunday’s races will feature in ITV4’s extensive BTCC coverage, with live timing and results from the weekend being available at

Florescu reigns supreme on second day of British F4 test at Croft

  • Petru Florescu keeps Carlin out front at Croft.
  • Zane Goddard puts in emphatic testing performance.

CROFT 1 JUNE, 2016 – The phenomenal pace exhibited yesterday throughout the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford field showed no signs of letting up today; with a number of drivers consistently lapping quicker than last year’s pole time. Nonetheless, the plaudits go to Carlin’s Petru Florescu whose time of 1m 20.591s was not only the quickest of the day, but of the entire test.

It was another fantastic display from Florescu, who currently has the most victories and pole positions to his name in 2016 and will undoubtedly look to build on a fantastic two days of testing when racing resumes at Oulton Park.

The man who grabbed yesterday’s headlines, Devlin DeFrancesco, was hot on the Romanian’s heels with a time of 1m 20.616s. It put him second fastest overall, capping off an incredibly positive 48 hours for British F4’s most recent race winner.

Both Florescu and DeFrancesco’s quickest times arrived with just under two hours of the afternoon session remaining, deposing long-time leader Zane Goddard. Max Fewtrell and Luis Leeds soon got in on the act, posting times which would see them end the day fourth and fifth respectively.

Despite dropping down the order in the afternoon, Goddard is likely to leave North Yorkshire with a smile on his face. After a strong showing yesterday the Double R racer upped his game even further, recording the fastest time of the morning and third fastest of the test.

Rookie Ayrton Simmons’ rapid rate of development shows no sign of letting up. His time of 1m 20.985s just under half a second quicker than his best on Tuesday, leaving him as fastest Rookie in the morning.

James Pull also improved by almost half a second. However, the biggest improver over the entire two day test was Fortec Motorsports’ Frank Bird, who found a staggering eight tenths.

TRS Arden’s Jack Martin built upon an eye-catching performance yesterday with a 1m 20.910s to go sixth fastest overall and claim the title of quickest Rookie.

Jamie Caroline made an appearance for Pirtek Racing Jamun, having not attended yesterday and was quickly up to speed in the morning; ultimately winding up tenth on the timesheet. A respectable result given he was up against opposition who already had a day’s running under their belts.

Attention now turns to rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford, which will take place at Oulton Park this weekend. The drivers will hit the track for pre-race testing on Friday 3 June, all eager to perfect their setup around the Cheshire circuit.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford

Leading testing times Croft 1 June 2016 (am/pm)
1 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1:20.865 / 1:20.591
2 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 1:20.917 / 1:20.617
3 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R 1:20.713 / 1:21.063
4 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 1:21.093 / 1:20.842
5 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 1:20.997 / 1:20.906
6 Jack MARTIN / GBR / Arden 1:21.234 / 1:20.910
7 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden 1:21.061 / 1:20.985
8 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 1:21.522 / 1:21.015
9 James PULL / GBR / Carlin 1:21.689 / 1:21.074
10 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Jamun 1:21.406 / 1:21.224 etc.

Full TSL timesheets

DeFrancesco leads the way in British F4 testing at Croft

  • Devlin DeFrancesco maintains rich run of form to top the timesheets.
  • Alex Quinn fastest in the morning session with late flyer.
  • Electrifying pace from much of the field, as majority covered by less than a second.

CROFT 31 MAY, 2016 – Carlin’s Devlin DeFrancesco set the pace in an entertaining first day of testing at Croft in the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford. The test saw nine drivers lap the 2.125-mile North Yorkshire circuit quicker than last season’s pole time of 1m 21.369s. It underlined the depth of talent on this year’s grid, as well as the performance gains made by Ford with its EcoBoost technology and Mygale with the British F4 chassis.

DeFrancesco wasted no time in trying to seize the initiative, just over three weeks after his popular maiden victory at Thruxton. Despite his best efforts in the morning the Canadian wound up fourth fastest, but it was in the afternoon where he really excelled.

There was a tussle for supremacy shortly after Carlin team-mate Petru Florescu staked his claim at the top, with DeFrancesco and TRS Arden’s Luis Leeds deposing the Romanian from top spot with 40 minutes left on the clock.

Leeds posted his quickest time of the day, a 1m 20.791s to put him fractionally ahead of DeFrancesco’s first flyer. However, DeFrancesco made his second attempt count with a blistering 1m 20.671s which would see him end up outright fastest.

It was a good day for British F4’s Aussie contingent with both Leeds and Double R’s Zane Goddard topping the times at various stages. Leeds’ eye-catching afternoon performance was backed up by third fastest in the morning, whilst Goddard recorded an impressive 123 laps on his way to seventh. A tally second only to JHR’s Jack Butel, who racked up a staggering 125 laps.

Racing Steps Foundation driver Alex Quinn stamped his authority on the morning session to go quickest with just four minutes remaining. Although he was unable to better his time in the afternoon, the Rookie class leader is sure to be pleased with his day’s work, finishing just a quarter of a second off of DeFrancesco’s time.

Like Quinn, Carlin’s Max Fewtrell was another who couldn’t better his morning’s effort which saw him head into the lunchbreak second. The 16-year-old having to settle for fifth overall, just behind team-mate Petru Florescu.

Championship leader Sennan Fielding had a relatively quiet day in sixth, but is sure to have plenty more in his locker having shown flashes of front running pace, particularly in the morning.

Fortec Motrosports’ Nicolai Kjaergaard showed the greatest rate of improvement, bettering his morning time by nearly six tenths of a second with a flying lap late in the day.

Finally, Jack Martin put in one of his best testing performances of the season so far to be fastest Rookie class driver in the afternoon and finish the day comfortably inside the top ten.

Day two of testing at Croft commences at 0900 tomorrow and with the Ford EcoBoost-powered field so evenly matched, it’s going to be fascinating to see who ends the test on top.

F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford

Leading testing times Croft 31 May 2016 (am/pm)
1 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 1:21.082 / 1:20.671
2 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 1.21.066 / 1:20.791
3 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 1:20.921 / 1:21.343
4 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1:21.207 / 1:20.940
5 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 1.20.951 / 1:21.246
6 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:21.150 / 1:21.395
7 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R 1:21.371 / 1:21.212
8 Jack MARTIN / GBR / Arden 1:21.486 / 1:21.213
9 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden 1:21.682 / 1:21.248
10 James PULL / GBR / Carlin 1:21.482 / 1:21.572 etc.

Full TSL timesheets

Motor Sports Council National Court upholds exclusion

Sennan Fielding (GBR) JHR MSA Formula
  • Croft MSA Formula results amended
  • Sennan Fielding declared Round 13 winner, Ricky Collard victor of Round 15

29 JULY, 2015 – The results of last month’s Croft rounds of the MSA Formula Championship have been amended following a meeting yesterday (Tuesday) of the Motor Sports Council National Court. The court was considering an appeal by Fortec Motorsports driver Daniel Ticktum into his exclusion from the results of Round 13, in which he crossed the line first after a final-corner collision with the car of Lando Norris.

Having viewed video evidence and the evidence of both drivers, the MSC National Court confirmed the decision of race stewards and upheld Ticktum’s exclusion. Further, they excluded Ticktum from the results of Rounds 14 and 15, and the appellant was ordered to pay £2000 costs.

Ticktum’s exclusion from the meeting confirms JHR Developments driver Sennan Fielding as the victor of Round 13, ahead of Ricky Collard and Tarun Reddy, with championship leader Collard (TRS Arden) awarded the Round 15 win, with Norris second and Fielding third.

Collard now leads the Ford EcoBoost-powered championship by 25 points from Norris. The series resumes at Snetterton on 8 August.

Amended results Croft 27/28 June 2015
Round 13 15 laps / 31.87 miles
1 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 20m 52.980s / 91.58mph
2 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden +0.838s
3 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R +1.823s etc

Round 14 14 laps / 29.75 miles
1 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec 19m 21.405s / 92.21mph
2 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin +3.999s
3 Louise RICHARDSON / GBR / Richardson +4.917s etc

Round 15 15 laps / 31.87 miles
1 COLLARD 20m 54.376s / 91.48mph
2 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin +0.469s
3 FIELDING +1.684s etc

Full results

Provisional championship standings
1 Collard 219 points; 2 Norris 194; 3 Matheus Leist (BRA / Double R) 162; 4 Dan Ticktum (GBR / Fortec) 149; 5 Fielding 139 etc
Rookie class 1 Ticktum 238; 2 Sandy Mitchell (GBR / TRS Arden) 205; 3 Dan Baybutt (GBR / JTR) 204 etc

Croft Round 15 race report: Collard awarded victory

  • Fortec driver Dan Ticktum slots ahead at the start and resists pressure race-long to claim the win, but is later excluded
  • Ricky Collard inherits win, ahead of Lando Norris, to maintain championship lead

CROFT 28 JUNE, 2015 – Daniel Ticktum drove what he described as his “hardest and best” race yet to win this afternoon’s Croft MSA Formula Championship finale. The Ford EcoBoost-powered Fortec driver took control at the start and held on in front to the end despite pressure all the way to the line, first from Carlin man Lando Norris and latterly from championship leader Ricky Collard’s TRS Arden machine. However a month after his win, Ticktum was excluded from the results by the Motor Sports Council National Court.

Sixteen-year-old Ticktum started second on the grid behind Norris and despite Lando making a good start, Dan’s was better and he pulled clear as they entered Clervaux for the first time. Ticktum pulled a car’s length advantage on the opening lap but was unable to edge further ahead of his pursuer who, when he wasn’t busy defending his second place from Collard’s attentions, was making frequent attempts to prise a gap from Ticktum through which to seize the lead.

Dan was able to fend off every move: “It was very, very difficult – probably my hardest race yet and the best I’ve ever driven in my career, including karting. The pressure was there the entire time and I couldn’t afford to make a single mistake, and I didn’t. I had to defend the whole time and without trying to sound cocky I surprised myself that I drove as well as I did. It’s a great way to end the weekend.”

Collard took second from Norris at the start of the 13th lap thanks to a better exit from the hairpin, pulling level with the Carlin man down the main straight before slotting ahead into Clervaux. “I was waiting for Lando to make a move on Dan, but it never came so I knew I had to pass Lando if I was to have any hope of winning the race. Dan slowed things down a bit through the chicane and I was able to get a good cut-back and slingshot past Lando.” Thanks to Ticktum’s eventual exclusion and his inherited win, Collard entered the mid-season break with a 25-point championship lead

Norris was disappointed with his result: “Our pace in general was quite good, just not down the straight and I couldn’t really do anything about Ricky coming past. Dan got a better start than me; mine was all right but his was better.”

Carlin’s Petru Florescu slotted ahead of his team-mate Colton Herta at the start to move into fourth, and defended the position well from the young American until the sixth lap, when Herta ran wide and off at Sunny to allow JHR Developments driver Sennan Fielding through to fifth spot. Two laps later Fielding moved in front of Florescu to secure what would become third, with Petru holding fourth to the end to score his best result of the season and take the Rookie class honours in addition.

Following her Saturday podium finish, Richardson Racing driver Louise Richardson was in strong form again and claimed fifth at the line, holding off the Double R car of Matheus Leist for the duration. Sandy Mitchell secured seventh , and second position on the Rookie podium, for TRS Arden after Herta ran wide once more, this time out of Clervaux, on the penultimate lap. Tarun Reddy (Double R) and Daniel Baybutt (JTR) completed the top nine, with Rafael Martins 10th for SWB Motorsport and Enaam Ahmed (TRS Arden) close behind.

Saturday winner Josh Smith found his luck reversed, the 16-year-old being forced to pull into the pits after one lap with a fuel pressure issue. Darius Karbaley (Falcon) joined him in retirement.

Provisional results Round 15 Croft 28 June 2015 amended
15 laps / 31.87 miles
1 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden 20m 54.376s / 91.48mph
2 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin +0.469s
3 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +1.684s
4 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +4.734s
5 Louise RICHARDSON / GBR / Richardson +5.243s
6 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R +7.149s
7 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden +7.685s
8 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R +8.393s
9 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR +11.016s
10 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB +12.005s etc

Fastest lap Norris 1m 22.725s / 92.47mph

Rookie class 1 Florescu, 2 Mitchell, 3 Baybutt, 4 Martins, 5 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden, 6 Ameya VAIDYANATHAN / IND / JTR

Full results

Provisional championship standings
1 Collard 219 points; 2 Norris 194; 3 Leist 162; 4 Daniel Ticktum 149; 5 Fielding 139; 6 Mitchell 105; 7 Colton Herta 101; 8 James Pull 86; 9 Jack Barlow 66; 10 Martins 62 etc
Rookie class 1 Ticktum 238; 2 Mitchell 205; 3 Baybutt 204; 4 Florescu 173; 5 Martins 168 etc

First MSA Formula victory for Ford EcoBoost-powered rookie Josh Smith

  • Smith leads from pole position to chequered flag in Croft reverse-grid race
  • Colton Herta second for Carlin and Louise Richardson on the podium for the first time

CROFT 27 JUNE, 2015 – Josh Smith claimed a popular maiden victory in the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship this afternoon, leading at Croft from lights out to chequered flag for the Fortec team. The 16-year-old Rookie from Cumbria executed a perfect getaway from his first pole start and despite early pressure from Carlin driver Colton Herta he never looked in danger of being deprived the win.

By the end of the opening lap Racing Steps Foundation-backed Smith was six-tenths ahead and by mid-distance he was a second and a half in the clear; he went on to stroke out his advantage to four seconds by flag fall.

A delighted Josh said on the podium: “I had no clue whatsoever before this weekend that I’d get my first win. I knew I had good pace but I never thought this was on the cards. I can’t thank the team enough. Once I knew I’d be starting from pole I felt pretty confident because I knew I had the pace and consistency. All I had to do was to get if off the line.”

Herta had to give up his attempts to chase Smith and concentrate on defending his second from an assertive Louise Richardson, who made a great start from fourth on the grid to slot into third ahead of Double R’s Matheus Leist. Louise chased down the young American and made a bid to pass him around the outside at Tower on the ninth lap before settling for third. Said Louise: “I made a good start and then it was just a case of holding on… I got close to Colton and looked to have a go but this was going to be my first time on the podium and I just wanted to finish and with the car in one piece. I’m happy. Oulton was horrendous and now here I am on the podium.”

First-race frontrunner Sennan Fielding started sixth and gained a place on the opening lap, then liberated fourth from Leist out of Tower two laps from the end. Leist had to settle for fifth ahead of his team-mate Tarun Reddy.

A subdued Daniel Ticktum held seventh throughout (but was later excluded from the results) and was followed to the line by TRS Arden drivers Sandy Mitchell and Enaam Ahmed, with Dan Baybutt completing the top nine for JTR ahead of his team-mate James Pull, with Ricky Collard 11th following a pit-lane start after he failed to make the grid in time.

After his race one crash, Lando Norris started from the back and raced to 12th ahead of his team-mate Petru Florescu. Jessica Hawkins placed 14th for Falcon ahead of Rafael Martins (SWB), Jack Butel (JHR) and Ollie Pidgley (Richardson Racing). Ameya Vaidyanathan (JTR) was the sole retirement; Darius Karbaley (Falcon) failed to make the start due to damage from race one.

Provisional results Round 14 Croft 27 June 2015 amended
14 laps / 29.75 miles
1 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec 19m 21.405s / 92.21mph
2 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin +3.999s
3 Louise RICHARDSON / GBR / Richardson +4.917s
4 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +8.656s
5 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R +9.326s
6 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R +10.115s
7 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden +12.294s
8 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden +12.930s
9 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR +13.958s
10 James PULL / GBR / JTR +17.018s etc
Fastest lap Herta 1m 22.218s / 93.04mph Rec

Rookie class 1 Smith, 2 Mitchell, 3 Ahmed, 4 Baybutt, 5 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin, 6 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB

Full results

Fielding inherits the win in controversial Croft opener

  • Lando Norris and Dan Ticktum in collision at final corner
  • Fielding awarded victory after Ticktum excluded from results
  • First Rookie class win for Josh Smith

CROFT 27 JUNE, 2015 – A last-corner clash brought a dramatic end to the first MSA Formula race of the Croft weekend, with Carlin’s Lando Norris and Fortec’s Dan Ticktum colliding as they disputed the lead. Within sight of the chequered flag, victory and the championship lead, race-long leader Lando Norris was sidelined from the event, with Ticktum able to continue after their contact to cross the line first.

Norris, who had shown all his rivals a clean pair of heels in qualifying by topping the time sheets for the second meeting in succession, had made a good start from the pole and quickly established a lead over his rival which he looked set to maintain to the line.

Their collision also affected the battle for the final podium place: Sennan Fielding (JHR) had held third spot from the outset after a lightning start from fifth on grid and was pursued for the duration of the race by the TRS Arden car of Ricky Collard. Collard, suffering understeer throughout, had no answer for Fielding’s pace, but when they arrived at the hairpin to find Norris’s stricken car, Fielding opted to go around the outside of the debris while Collard opted for an inside line, gaining him track position. Thus the order at the finish line was Ticktum, Collard, Fielding.

Extensive post-race investigations by the race stewards decided that Ticktum had caused an avoidable collision, and excluded him from the results. Further, they ruled that Collard had passed Fielding under yellow warning flags, albeit unintentionally, and reversed their positions. Once the dust had settled it was therefore Sennan Fielding who was awarded the win, his second of the season for JHR – with Collard second. This result was upheld a month later following an unsuccessful appeal by Ticktum to the Motor Sports Council National Court.

Collard said: “I made a terrible start. It probably looked spectacular because I left some big black lines, but it wasn’t very quick. I’m a bit frustrated about that. I knew that the race would come to us and I kept chipping away and then we came upon Lando’s car in the middle of the track.”

The battle for the lower positions was less controversial. Double R’s Tarun Reddy slotted ahead of Carlin man Petru Florescu for fifth on the second lap and held station to the end for what became third and his maiden podium finish. Florescu retired to the pits mid-race with a loose rear wheel, promoting Louise Richardson to fourth – her best result of the season so far and a reward for the hard work of the Richardson Racing team since the Oulton Park rounds.

Matheus Leist was next up for Double R, ahead of Carlin’s Colton Herta, with Josh Smith enjoying his best run of the year to finish seventh overall, and therefore with Ticktum’s exclusion a maiden victory in the Rookie class, thanks to passing the TRS Arden car of Sandy Mitchell on the final lap. “It was a good race,” said Josh. “It’s all down to good preparation. We’ve worked hard and put in a big effort this weekend. We’re going forwards now.” Enaam Ahmed completed the top nine for TRS Arden, ahead of JTR team-mates Dan Baybutt, James Pull and Ameya Vaidyanathan.

Further last-lap drama was provided by Darius Karbaley (Falcon) and Jack Butel (JHR Developments), who collided at the Complex; both retired.

Provisional results Round 13 Croft 27 June 2015 amended
15 laps / 31.87 miles
1 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 20m 52.980s / 91.58mph
2 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden +0.838s
3 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R 20m +1.823s
4 Louise RICHARDSON / GBR / Richardson +4.638
5 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R +7.415s
6 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin +8.641s
7 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec +9.155s
8 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden +10.827s
9 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden +12.813s
10 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR +13.454s etc

Fastest lap Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin 1m 22.274s / 92.98mph Est Rec

Rookie class 1 Smith, 2 Mitchell, 3 Ahmed, 4 Baybutt, 5 Ameya VAIDYANATHAN / IND / JTR, 6 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB

Provisional championship standings
1 Collard 193 points; 2 Norris 174; 3 Daniel Ticktum 149; 4 Leist 144; 5 Fielding 112; 6 Mitchell 93 etc
Rookie class 1 Ticktum 238; 2 Baybutt 177; 3 Mitchell 169; 4 Martins 148 etc

Full results

Norris doubles up in Croft MSA Formula qualifying

  • Twin poles for Lando as he bids to wrest championship lead from Ricky Collard
  • Collard qualifies third behind Norris and Dan Ticktum

CROFT 27 JUNE, 2015 – Lando Norris led the way in MSA Formula qualifying at Croft this morning, the Carlin driver bagging pole for this afternoon’s 13th round of the Ford EcoBoost-powered championship and also for tomorrow’s live-televised round 15. His best lap around the 2.125-mile North Yorkshire circuit was a tenth faster than that of his closest rival, Fortec’s Dan Ticktum.

Norris’s second-best lap was a blinder too, and was again a tenth better than Ticktum could achieve. Lando played a canny game, electing to sit out the early laps of the 20-minute session in order to preserve his slick Hankook tyres for the later stages.

Said Lando: “The plan to save the tyres worked well and two poles is a good result. The plan for the race is to hopefully make a good start like I did in the last Oulton race, which was really my first good start of the year. If I can replicate that hopefully I can get away…”

Championship leader Collard was not disappointed with his third-place showing and believes his race pace will be good: “It’s a bit gutting to be P1 for a lot of the session and then to get pipped at the end but this is better than I was expecting – we had not tested here at all and I thought we’d really be on the back foot. I have issues with oversteer at high speed and understeer at low speed but I am sure we can sort that out. We have the race pace and I will be fired up for the race too.”

There was a season-best qualifying performance from Carlin’s Romanian racer Petru Florescu, who beat his team-mate Colton Herta to fourth spot by a 0.077s margin. Though he qualified fifth, Herta will start race one this afternoon from P10 due to a penalty imposed after his Oulton Park crash earlier this month.

Louise Richardson, her Richardson Racing car extensively overhauled after Oulton Park, was another to set a qualifying best for the year to date. Louise will line up seventh behind JHR Developments driver Sennan Fielding. “We’ve a few tweaks to make and I need to look at the data to see where I was making mistakes because I don’t think I ever got a really clean lap,” said Louise. “There are still a couple more tenths to be found if we can hook it all up together.”

Matheus Leist out-qualified his Double R team-mate Tarun Reddy by a tenth of a second to secure eighth, with TRS Arden man Sandy Mitchell completing the qualifying top 10.

There woes in the JTR camp with Dan Baybutt disappointed to qualify 12th. He fared better than his team-mate James Pull, who was in trouble even before the off when his car’s front wing was damaged in a collision with another car as they left the collecting area. James was 14th after a pit stop for a new nose.

The first race of the Croft triple-header follows at 1340.

Provisional qualifying times Croft 27 June 2015
Grid order for Round 13
1 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin 1:21.369
2 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec 1:21.463
3 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden 1:21.569
4 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1:21.835
5 Colton HERTA* / USA / Carlin 1:21.912
6 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:21.960
7 Louise RICHARDSON / GBR / Richardson 1:22.088
8 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R 1:22.129
9 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R 1:22.233
10 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden 1:22.234 etc
*5 place grid penalty

Round 15 grid order (based on second-fastest times): Norris – Ticktum – Collard – Herta – Florescu – Fielding – Leist – Richardson – Mitchell – Reddy etc

Full times

Norris and Collard head to head again in Croft testing

  • Lando quickest in the dry, Ricky in the wet as championship leaders prepare for a weekend of action in North Yorkshire

CROFT 26 JUNE, 2015 – Championship top two Ricky Collard and Lando Norris showed their class again today at Croft in testing ahead of the weekend’s rounds of the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship races, Collard quickest in the morning’s wet session and Norris on top in the dry in the afternoon.

At the end of the day it was Carlin’s 15-year-old Norris on top overall, his best lap for the 2.125-mile North Yorkshire track three-tenths of a second better than Collard’s optimum time. Fresh from victory last weekend at Spa on his debut in the German F4 Championship, Norris was pleased to have reacclimatised himself so well to his British car and also to Croft, the scene of his maiden car-race victory last season.

“It was hot and hard work,” said Lando. “It’s quite a bumpy track and it’s hard to get everything right and put a whole lap together. It’s easy to make a mistake and lose a lot of time, so I’m pleased overall.”

Collard was upbeat about his chances for the weekend of retaining his championship lead over Norris, which stands currently at seven points: “I feel that we didn’t get the best from the car. We have some gearing issues and if we can sort them out, maybe we can edge Norris in qualifying. This had always been a bit of bogey track for me so I was pleased to be quickest in the wet.”

Collard’s best lap in the wet morning session was 0.016s better than that of his closest rival, Fortec’s Dan Ticktum. Ticktum set third-best time behind Norris and Collard in the dry, with Colton Herta P4 for Carlin and Tarun Reddy (Double R) close behind for fifth. JTR’s Dan Baybutt completed the testing top six. Seventh, and the final driver within a second of Norris, was Double R’s Matheus Leist.

There was a strong showing from Richardson Racing’s Louise Richardson, who ran as high as third in the middle stages of session two before slipping back to ninth. Said Louise: “We’ve given the car a bit of an overhaul since Oulton, have gone radical with the set-up and it seems to be working. There are still a few tweaks to be made but it’s there or thereabouts now and the rest has to come from me…”

Jack Butel was pleased with his showing at the wheel of a brand-new chassis for his new team JHR Developments: “It’s going well and we are getting to grips with the car, which has never raced before.” Jack was 17th overall, with 1.4s to find to get on terms with his team-mate Sennan Fielding, who was eighth overall.

The afternoon session was incident-free but there were a couple of interruptions to proceedings this morning with the session interrupted 10 minutes from its scheduled end while the JTR machine of Ameya Vaidyanathan was retrieved following a minor off at Tower. It was then red-flagged for good with a minute to go when Darius Karbaley clobbered the tyres at the Complex.

Saturday will be a busy day for competitors with official qualifying scheduled for 1025. The first of the Croft weekend’s three races is set to follow at 1340 and the reverse-grid race is due off at 1725. Sunday afternoon’s finale will be screened live on ITV4.

Leading testing times Croft 26 June 2015 (am/pm)
1 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin 1:30.296 / 1:21.402
2 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden 1:30.223 / 1:21.725
3 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec 1:30.239 / 1:22.033
4 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin 1:30.859 / 1:22.196
5 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R 1:30.848 / 1:22.342
6 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR 1:31.932 / 1:22.370
7 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R 1:31.010 / 1:22.370
8 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:31.641 / 1:22.401
9 Louise RICHARDSON / GBR / Richardson 1:31.821 / 1:22.488
10 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden 1:31.346 / 1:22.518 etc

Full times

Ford-powered racers ready for mid-season Croft outings

  • Ricky Collard leads Lando Norris to Yorkshire with a slender seven-point advantage
  • Jack Barlow hoping that his first visit to Croft will provide his long-awaited maiden podium finish
  • New team for Jack Butel

21 JUNE, 2015 – The Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship heads north next weekend (27/28 June) to the Croft circuit, near Darlington, for a trio of races which will bring the series to its mid-point. Whoever leaves North Yorkshire with the championship lead will enjoy a significant psychological advantage as the young single-seater heroes and their teams head into a much deserved six-week summer break.

Currently it is experience leading the way: 18-year-old Formula Ford graduate Ricky Collard heads the points table for the TRS Arden team thanks to two race victories and a further four second-place finishes from the opening 12 rounds. But Ricky is only seven points clear of the season’s outstanding 15-year-old talent, Carlin’s Lando Norris, who has racked up four wins already.

Croft’s a circuit with happy memories for Lando – it was there last season that he scored his first race win in a car, when he triumphed in the Ginetta Junior series. Collard fared less well at Croft in Formula Ford: he was swept up in another’s accident in the first race of the weekend and ended his weekend with a best race finish of eighth.

One driver who knows only too well what it’s like to be knocked out of a race is Jack Barlow, who was set fair for his and the MBM team’s maiden podium finish last time out, at Oulton Park, before fate intervened in the shape of an avoidable collision which left him watching, blameless, from the sidelines – far from the 20th birthday present the Hastings-based driver was hoping for.

“We were leading up to our first podium,” said Jack. “We’d had a couple of fourths and a couple of fifths, but hadn’t quite made it to third. We were in perfect shape with Herta and Martins coming together on the first lap. We had new left tyres also, and the only other two with new lefts were the drivers in front of me [Norris and Collard], and if I’d gone with them I would have been on for a good result. It’s frustrating, but what can you do?”

Barlow is hopeful that his luck will change at Croft, although it is not a circuit on which he has raced before: “I’ve never been to Croft, so I’m keeping an open mind about it. I can pick up circuits quite quickly, so will be going straight into it on the Friday and using that as a learning day.

“There are some areas where we are missing out on the set-up side of things because we are still learning about the car. We haven’t really had much time to test. But we are getting closer and closer and hopefully will be on the podium before long.”

He’s looking forward to the summer break, and the opportunity to source much-needed further funding to help him complete his season. “We are OK financially for Croft but then we have six weeks where we need to find more budget. That’s the nice thing about having the summer break – it gives us a chance to settle down and talk to a few people.”

After a dismal time at Thruxton in May, Donington double winner Dan Ticktum had hoped to get his season back on track at Oulton earlier this month; a third and a fourth didn’t exactly achieve what he had hoped but the Fortec driver maintains championship third, 26 points off Collard’s tally.

There have been three other race winners so far this unpredictable season – Double R’s Matheus Leist, who won the Donington reverse-grid race; JHR Developments driver Sennan Fielding, who rocketed to victory from third on the grid in the second Oulton race; and TRS Arden man Sandy Mitchell, who did the double at Thruxton.

Fielding will be hoping to carry a little local support into the Croft races, having spent his Saturday in Newcastle city centre showing interested passers-by the intricacies of his Ford EcoBoost-powered machine as part of a BTCC promotional event for the circuit.

Fielding and any of the above mentioned could be on for further victories at Croft, and to that list you can add many further names, including those of the other podium visitors so far in 2015: JTR duo James Pull and Dan Baybutt, Carlin’s Colton Herta and SWB Motorsport man Rafael Martins.

In the Rookie class it’s very much Ticktum who leads the way thanks to eight class wins from 12 starts, with Baybutt, Mitchell, Martins and Carlin’s Romanian racer Petru Florescu battling it out for second spot.

After her impressive MSA Formula debut at Oulton Park, 20-year-old Jessica Hawkins is returning with the Falcon Motorsport team, alongside Darius Karbaley. Richardson Racing will field its regular two cars for Louise Richardson and Ollie Pidgley, with Indian talent Tarun Reddy lining up alongside Leist at Double R.

The championship’s second Indian racer, Ameya Vaidyanathan, will be in action for JTR, with Josh Smith piloting the Racing Steps Foundation-backed Fortec car and Enaam Ahmed, fresh from racing in the SMP F4 Championship in Russia, on the TRS Arden team strength.

Jerseyman Jack Butel will be switching to a new – as yet unconfirmed – team for Croft, having parted company with SWB Motorsport. Says Jack: “This decision has not been easy but I believe it is the best thing for both parties. I have had a great 18 months with the team and they have taught me a lot and have had some great times with everyone in the team. I wish all of SWB the best in the future as I continue my racing career.”

The Croft weekend gets underway on Friday with two test sessions ahead of an action-filled Saturday comprising official qualifying and two races. Sunday afternoon’s finale is to be screened live on ITV4 between rounds of the British Touring Car Championship.

Croft timetable
Friday 26 June
0930 & 1340 Testing
Saturday 27 June
1025 Qualifying, 1340 Round 13, 1725 round 14
Sunday 28 June
1549 Round 15