- Dan Ticktum assumes clear championship lead after claiming his first MSA Formula race win of the year
- Last-gasp scrap for second settled in favour of James Pull, with Gustavo Myasava third
DONINGTON PARK 18 APRIL, 2015 – Dan Ticktum delivered a near-perfect maiden MSA Formula victory for himself and the Fortec team this afternoon, the 15-year-old leading every inch of the championship’s fourth round, all the way from pole position to chequered flag in his Ford EcoBoost-powered racer.
But for a fourth-lap wobble when he put a wheel on the rough at the Goddards chicane, Ticktum’s drive was an impeccable display and delivered him the largest victory margin of the season so far – just over seven seconds separated Dan from his closest pursuer, JTR’s James Pull.
Ticktum showed his class with a clean getaway from his maiden pole start, pursued into Redgate corner by fast-starting Brazilian Gustavo Myasava, whose Double R machine shot away from fourth on the grid to slot ahead of both Pull and Carlin’s Lando Norris. By the end of the opening lap Ticktum’s advantage over Myasava was 0.5s and by the 11th tour he had extended it to four seconds.
Next time around Ticktum had a different car in his mirrors as Norris pulled off an impressive pass on Myasava through Redgate to seize second. Five laps later Pull followed Lando’s example and chose the same spot to push Gustavo back to fourth.
Although the race was in the bag for Ticktum, the battle for the lower podium steps was far from over: Pull set fastest lap as he reeled in Norris, muscling past the Brands Hatch double winner for second place through McLeans on the final lap. Perhaps caught out by the manoeuvre, Norris found himself pushed back to fourth at the next turn as Myasava bagged himself third place to celebrate his 19th birthday.
Winner (and £500 Rookie prizewinner) Dan Ticktum: “That was more or less exactly what I planned, apart from a small error at the end of lap four through Goddards when I was trying to find the limits of the track. After that I pegged it back to about 95 per cent and kept putting in consistent laps. When I saw I had a big lead I backed off a little bit more just to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes. That was pretty much the ideal race off the pole to be honest and a good way to win my first one.”
Second, James Pull: “I took a deep breath and made a brave manoeuvre on Gustavo through turn one; I really wasn’t sure that I’d be able to pull it off but I did, and then I managed to catch Lando and on the final lap just managed to get my nose in at McLeans and pass him. Fantastic, my best race yet.”
Third, Gustavo Myasava: “I made a good start, got the revs just right, but I had problems in the race because my car wasn’t so good when it was running behind another in the slipstream. We had some troubles with this and the tyres were becoming rough. After James passed Lando on the last lap, at the next corner his exit was a little slower than mine and I managed to pass him also down the straight.”
Hampered by gearchange issues in qualifying, Sennan Fielding (JHR Developments) battled through from ninth on the grid to fifth at the flag, staying ahead of Ricky Collard (TRS Arden) for the duration of the race. After a qualifying off left him languishing 18th on the grid, Double R’s other Brazilian, Matheus Leist, put in an even more impressive charge to secure seventh at the line.
Jack Barlow drove around his MBM car’s wayward handling to take eighth (and pole for tomorrow morning’s reverse-grid race), with Dan Baybutt (JTR) and Petru Florescu (Carlin) securing the final Rookie class podium slots with ninth and 10th respectively. Florescu’s climb from the back earned him £500 from Ford as the best improver. Sandy Mitchell (Arden) endured a miserable race, losing several positions on the opening lap and slipping to 13th by the end with a deranged front wing, finishing behind his team-mate Enaam Ahmed and also Louise Richardson (Richardson Racing).
Rafael Martins (SWB) ran seventh early on but spun off, joining Darius Karbaley (Falcon), Tarun Reddy (Double R) and Josh Smith (Fortec) in retirement. The finishing order was completed by Jack Butel in 14th, ahead of Colton Herta and championship debutants Ollie Pidgley and Ameya Vaidyanathan.
Falcon Motorsport was reduced to single-car strength this weekend after the squad’s Romanian racer, Alexandra Marinescu, was recommended a further week of rest following her Brands Hatch testing accident on the eve of the new season. “The recovery went normally until now,” said Alexandra, “but the doctors considered that I might be subjected to too much stress too soon after the accident so, in accordance with their recommendations, we’ve decided not to compete this weekend. I would have liked to start in this round, but my safety is a priority. I’ll continue the training and I cannot wait to start again in the third round, at Thruxton.”
Provisional results Round 4, Donington Park 18 April 2015
18 laps / 35.62 miles
1 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec 20m 40.072s / 103.30mph
2 James PULL / GBR / JTR +7.094s
3 Gustavo MYASAVA / BRA / Double R +7.861s
4 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin +8.026s
5 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +14.721s
6 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden +14.888s
7 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R +18.226s
8 Jack BARLOW / GBR / MBM +19.029s
9 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR +19.478s
10 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +24.428s etc
Fastest lap Pull 1m 07.880s / 104.95mph Est Rec
Rookie class 1 Ticktum, 2 Baybutt, 3 Florescu, 4 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden, 5 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden, 6 Ameya VAIDYANATHAN / IND / JTR
Provisional championship standings
1 Ticktum 78 points; 2 Norris 65; 3 Pull 56; 4 Collard 51; 5 Leist 40; 6 Fielding 23 etc
Rookie class 1 Ticktum 108; 2 Baybutt 61, 3 Florescu 45 etc