Mixed emotions for Richardson Racing at Oulton Park

The Richardson Racing team came away from the weekend with mixed emotions after the fourth meeting of the MSA Formula season at Oulton Park The Grantham-based team made the journey to Cheshire seeking to build on three top twelve finishes last time out at Thruxton with drivers Louise Richardson and Ollie Pidgley both hopeful of a solid weekend on track. Sadly for Louise, her hopes were hampered by a hand injury that would affect her throughout the race weekend, which started with a difficult qualifying session where she had to settle for 19th on the grid. Despite the discomfort of her injury, Louise battled her way forwards to a solid 14th place in race one, with the team then taking the decision to use the remaining two races to work on development of the car for the upcoming event at Croft. After a 17th place finish in race two, Louise picked up her best result of the weekend in race three with 13th; positing her quickest race lap in the process. Louise will now hope to benefit from the work carried out in the final two races when the series heads to North Yorkshire in three weeks time.“We knew coming into the season that we were on the back foot a bit compared to our rivals because of our lack of pre-season testing and we are having to learn as we go along – which is what we have done again here,” she said. “It’s been a bit of a mixed weekend in terms of the results, but in terms of the knowledge we’ve gained, there is plenty that we can take away from Oulton Park that will hopefully help us moving forwards.“The injury to my hand did hamper me in qualifying and it meant I didn’t perform at my best but we worked to improve my comfort in the car for the three races. The first one went quite well and we made up places to finish in 14th but then we elected to use the other two races as more of an extended test for Croft later this month.“While we picked up two more solid finishes, we were also able to try a few things and learn more that we can take into the next event. While Oulton Park and Croft are two different circuits, they also share some similarities with high-speed corners and a bumpy track surface, so I think the work we have done will help us to be more competitive when we first hit the track at the next meeting.”Team-mate Ollie continued to make progress with his single-seater education as he picked up three solid finishes in the sister car; displaying improved pace on track and racing strongly throughout the weekend. Having qualified in 18th place, Ollie was hoping to move forwards through the opening race although a change in set-up failed to have the desired effect; meaning he was only able to make up one position through the opening 20 minute encounter on Saturday afternoon. Going back to his qualifying set-up, Ollie was immediately closer to the pace in race two – posting a best lap nearly a second quicker and racing well to 16th spot. Ollie looked set to better than result in race three before a late spin dropped him back down the order and resulted in a 17th place finish. However, the teenager said he was pleased with the weekend as a whole, with the target now being further improvements when the series heads to Croft.“I think it’s gone really well,” he said. “We lost some time in the first test session with an issue with the anti-roll bar and then I had a spin, but in the second session we maximized our track time and things went well. In qualifying, we were able to get in a good time after the red flag but then we decided to make a change to the set-up for the car for race one and it didn't go as we hoped. I wasn't able to match the pace I'd shown earlier, which limited what I could do results wise, and we decided to go back to the qualifying set-up for race two.“My pace improved immediately, so we were more competitive and showed where we stand more in both that race, and in race three. It was all about making more progress this weekend which is what I’ve done, and it’s good that I’m now running with the pack and getting involved in some real battles on track. The aim now is to try and take that next step and move further up the field.”