It was a day of mixed fortunes for runaway championship leader Scott Malvern at Brands Hatch - he saw his 13-race winning streak brought to a close in the first race of the day but then recovered in the afternoon to take his 15th victory of the season and a new record for the number of wins in a season. With only six races remaining in the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain, Malvern's stranglehold on the title continues to strengthen.
Round 17It was Jeroen Slaghekke who brought Malvern's unbeaten run to an end in the first of the day's Brands Hatch encounters. Pole-sitter Slaghekke (Jamun Racing Mygale) made a good start but was still beaten away by team-mate Malvern, who led into Paddock Hill Bend. Malvern's start was adjudged to have been too good, however, and he was afforded a drive-through penalty. Slaghekke, unaware of Malvern's penalty, tried to force a way past Scott and did so heading up to Druids on lap four, diving through on the inside.
Malvern's penalty dropped him to last place and he tried to work his way into contention, but with Scott otherwise occupied Slaghekke was able to dominate the race and scored his second win of the year. "I made a better start than yesterday," he said, "but I knew Scott had jumped it because he was ahead of me. I didn't see his penalty board as I was focusing on passing him. I figured he would get a penalty but I still wanted to pass him."
Behind Slaghekke, Geoff Uhrhane ran second (JTR Mygale) from team-mate Dan de Zille, while Nick McBride (Jamun Mygale) fended off Antti Buri (Geva Racing Mygale) for fifth place. Buri attacked at Druids on lap eight and squeezed by on the inside to secure fourth place and then charged after the leading group, but McBride was struggling with a mysterious electrical problem that was causing his car to cut out. As a result he lost time to the pack ahead and was caught by Linton Stuteley (Enigma Motorsport Mygale).
As the two cars came out of Clearways, McBride's car cut out and he was hit by Stuteley, who then ploughed wide into the Clark Curve gravel trap. McBride suffered a puncture, but with a dead engine he was a retirement.
He wasn't the only Australian in strife as Uhrhane spun out of second place with two laps to go, the JTR-run Mygale then unable to rejoin the race. That allowed de Zille up to second after a barren spell of podium results, with Buri assuming third place.
Behind the podium finishers, Luke Williams drove an excellent race on his return to the class after a sizeable accident at Oulton Park at Easter. Williams and his Mygale took fourth after a great fight with Spike Goddard (Jamun Racing Mygale), who was fifth from Matt Parry's Fluid Motorsport Van Diemen.
Chrissy Palmer (Jamun Racing Mygale) took seventh from Tristan Mingay's JTR Mygale, ahead of Philippe Layac (Enigma Motorsport Mygale), who was delayed when he tangled with Neil Alberico (Cliff Dempsey Racing Ray) at Graham Hill Bend. Alberico retired with broken left rear suspension. Malvern recovered to 10th, helped not just by his own pace but by the retirements of others, and the championship leader also set the fastest lap of the race in his recovery drive.
Round 18Scott Malvern took his 15th win of the British season after a tremendous tussle for second place allowed the championship leader to escape. His amazing win tally is a new record for the championship in a single season.
Malvern made a good start from second on the staggered grid while his Jamun Racing Mygale team-mate Jeroen Slaghekke made a poor start and fell to fourth behind Geoff Uhrhane (JTR Mygale) and Antti Buri (Geva Racing Mygale). As Uhrhane attacked Malvern, Buri needed to defend third from a frustrated Slaghekke, who tried to unsettle the Finn. Buri, though, had other ideas and maintained the pressure on Uhrhane, who started to defend more strenuously.
As Uhrhane defended from Buri, Malvern broke away and took a comfortable win but Uhrhane became the focus of attention as he had a four-car train queued up behind him. Uhrhane defended resolutely from Buri, but the Finn was also trying to keep the recovering Slaghekke at bay. The Dutchman made a bold move charging up to Druids and ran around the outside as they went through the hairpin. That put Slaghekke on the inside for Graham Hill Bend and he then nipped ahead as they dropped through the left-hander.
That put the Dutchman on the tail of Uhrhane, who was still able to maintain second place despite intense pressure. Slaghekke, rueing his poor start, tried everything he knew to grab second away from Uhrhane but the Australian was made of stern stuff and hung on to the place. "I didn't have the pace today to stay with Scott but the boys pushed me very hard. It was good to get second place after all that pressure."
Slaghekke never stopped trying and challenged all the way to the flag, darting around in Uhrhane's mirrors and trying to force a mistake that never came. The Dutchman took third from Buri, while Nick McBride (Jamun Mygale) took fifth. Luke Williams took sixth, closing on the leading group towards the end, while seventh fell to Matt Parry's Fluid Motorsport Van Diemen. JTR team-mates Dan de Zille and Tristan Mingay took eighth and ninth in their Mygales ahead of Chrissy Palmer, while casualties of the Brands Hatch gravel were the two Enigma Motorsport Mygales of Linton Stuteley, who went off at Paddock, and Philippe Layac, who slid off at Druids.
The man of the day, though, was Malvern with his record-breaking 15th win of the championship. "That's the record I was hoping for. I'm running out of space for all the trophies now!" he said. "The start was very difficult as Geoff and the others were all over me and I tried to put my head down and get away. It was a tough race to begin with but once I got a break I was able to build the gap."
Provisional resultsDunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain Round 17 (of 24) Brands Hatch Indy 4/9/1123 laps / 27.57 miles1 Jeroen Slaghekke NED Jamun Mygale 18m 17.919s / 90.39mph2 Dan de Zille JEY JTR Mygale +8.157s3 Antti Buri FIN LMS-Geva Mygale +8.667s4 Luke Williams GBR / Sowerby Jamun Mygale +12.899s5 Spike Goddard AUS Jamun Mygale +14.032s6 Matt Parry GBR / Cardiff +17.147s etc Scholarship Class: Cavan Corcoran GBR / Matlock Dempsey Ray +27.625s Fastest lap: Scott Malvern GBR / Ilford Jamun Mygale 47.087s / 91.64mph
Round 1823 laps / 27.57 miles1 Malvern 18m 29.509s / 89.45mph2 Geoff Uhrhane AUS JTR Mygale +4.792s3 Slaghekke +5.188s4 Buri +5.481s5 Nick McBride AUS Jamun Mygale +5.826s6 Williams +6.090s etcFastest lap: Slaghekke 47.492s / 91.03mph
Provisional championship standings1 Malvern 472 points; 2= Slaghekke & Buri 376; 4 McBride 364; 5 de Zille 285; 6 Uhrhane 261 etc Scholarship class 1 Corcoran 434; 2 David Moore 135; 3 Matt Rao 108 etc.
Next rounds 24/25 September, Donington Park