- Lando Norris sets the best time and his Carlin team-mate Colton Herta bags the second MSA Formula pole position
- Championship leader Ricky Collard strikes trouble… and a Rockingham barrier
ROCKINGHAM 5 SEPTEMBER, 2015 – Lando Norris underlined his qualifying prowess this morning by topping the MSA Formula Championship times for the fourth time this season. The 15-year-old Carlin pilot lapped the 1.94-mile Rockingham Motor Speedway two-tenths faster than his closest rival, team-mate Colton Herta, to bag the pole for this afternoon’s 22nd round of the Ford EcoBoost-powered series.
But despite bettering his Friday testing pace, Norris’s domination was not complete – his second-best time was 0.047s behind that of Herta’s, so the young American will start from top spot in tomorrow afternoon’s live-televised finale.
“I was able to find some time in a few places,” said Lando. “Half a tenth here and half a tenth there, and I think the track was a tiny bit faster than yesterday even though it was a bit damp in a couple of places. We made a few tweaks with the set up and I changed a few things in my driving, and it all came together.”
It was a disastrous session for championship leader Ricky Collard. Ten minutes into the session the TRS Arden driver hooked a wheel on the kerb out of Gracelands and slid sideways into the barriers, ending his session and bringing out the red flags to halt qualifying. “I just made a mistake,” said Ricky. “It was 100 per cent my fault and it slid in sideways. I’m sure that the team will be able to fix it. It will make for a couple of interesting races – my overtaking is good…” Ricky will start from the very back of the 20-car grid this afternoon and in the final race, and must pin his hopes on a solid race-one drive and a better start slot for tomorrow’s reverse-grid race.
Third fastest today was Fortec’s Dan Ticktum, with Sennan Fielding fourth for JHR Developments and Matheus Leist fifth in his Double R machine. Enaam Ahmed upheld TRS Arden honours by posting sixth-best time, with his team-mate Sandy Mitchell, who yesterday in testing hit the Rockingham pit straight wall, taking 10th.
Dan Baybutt claimed seventh, his best qualifying result since Thruxton, at what is home circuit for his JTR team, ahead of Carlin’s Petru Florescu and Fortec’s James Pull. The first MSA Formula race meeting of the Rockingham weekend follows at 1425.
Provisional qualifying times Rockingham 5 September 2015
Grid order for Round 22
1 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin 1:18.077
2 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin 1:18.279
3 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec 1:18.509
4 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:18.549
5 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R 1:18.606
6 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden 1:18.706
7 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR 1:18.807
8 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1:18.864
9 James PULL / GBR / Fortec 1:18.896
10 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden 1:18.901 etc
Round 23 grid order (based on second-fastest times) Herta – Norris – Ticktum – Fielding – Ahmed – Florescu – Mitchell – Leist – Pull – Toby Sowery etc