Jamun Racing's Scott Malvern is the 2011 Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain title winner after taking yet another race victory, his 17th of the year, on the Donington Park Grand Prix circuit Sunday afternoon.
Sealing the prestigious crown in perfect style with his second race win of the weekend at the 2.5-mile East Midlands track, the 22-year-old is Jamun's seventh successive champion. As during Saturday's victory, the Mygale driver led from lights to flag and is now in a position to claim a remarkable total of 20 wins for the year if he can ace all three encounters during the season finale at Silverstone in a fortnight.
"It's been so tough since the first round, where we had a nightmare. We had to regroup and think about how we were going to attack it again and the only thing we could do was win as many races as possible," said the new champion. "The plan since then has been all-out attack, win every race we could, and that's happened.
"Sometimes we've been fortunate, at other times the car has been mega and I've done the job. Massive thanks have to go to the guys at Jamun. The car has been amazing, it's been a mega year and I really have to thank them."
Malvern added: "I'd love to win 20 races in one year, that would be fantastic and that is the goal now heading to Silverstone. More than that, though, I'm just going to go out and enjoy the races - I've won the championship and to go to Silverstone with no pressure whatsoever, that will be completely new to me so it'll be an amazing feeling.
"For next year, we'll move on to whatever the best option is for us if we can secure the funding. We'll have to look at Formula 2, Formula 3 or GP3. I've got to take a big jump having stayed in Formula Ford for a couple of years. It was a risky strategy racing in Ford again this year; we had to win lots of races and the championship - but now we know we did the right thing."
Untroubled throughout the rain-affected final race of the weekend, Ilford-based Malvern won by over five seconds from JTR's Geoff Uhrhane, who took second around the outside of fellow Australian Nick McBride (Jamun) and Dan de Zille (JTR) at Melbourne Hairpin on lap two with a sensational move.
Third for McBride, who took his maiden British Formula Ford victory after a superb battle with Malvern during this morning's 20th round, means he is now 23 points clear of fellow Jamun runner Jeroen Slaghekke in the battle for second position in the championship standings.
Dutchman Slaghekke's hopes of challenging for the podium in round 21 ended on the opening lap with a spin as he exited the left-hander at Schwantz Curve, while dicing with McBride, which resulted in retirement.
As Malvern increased his lead, de Zille tried to make the early running following a tremendous start. After being passed by LMS/Geva Racing's Antti Buri at Schwantz on lap five for fourth place, the JTR driver was bundled back to eighth on the seventh tour but fought back to take seventh at the flag.
Buri had to settle for fifth in the end as Fluid's Matt Parry came into the picture more and more during the second half of the race and steered his Van Diemen to an excellent top-four finish. Taking the position from Buri at the hairpin on lap nine, he also posted the fastest lap of the race in the process.
Visiting Dutch racer Steijn Schothorst rounded out the top six for Geva while the Scholarship Class victory went to already crowned 2011 Champion, Cavan Corcoran in his Cliff Dempsey Racing-run Ray - he left it late, though, passing the JTR Mygale of car-racing rookie Max Marshall right at the finish to prevent the karting graduate from taking his second win.
For runner-up Uhrhane, his podium finish marked only his second visit to the rostrum in the last nine races after a run of misfortune. He commented: "At the moment I don't think we've got the pace in the dry, the Jamun guys are very fast so that's something we need to work harder at for Silverstone and hopefully go one better."
McBride takes first British Formula Ford victory in round 20 Having aced qualifying to take pole position for all three of the weekend's races, Malvern again led away at the start of this morning's 20th round of the season despite almost bogging down with too much wheelspin.
McBride, starting alongside his team-mate on the front row, was passed by Uhrhane at Redgate but the former grabbed second place back from his compatriot on lap two. McBride wasn't able pull away initially but on the fourth tour he posted the fastest lap of the race as he started to edge clear of Uhrhane who, at mid-distance, became a target for Slaghekke.
Slaghekke piled on the pressure into lap seven but Uhrhane did everything he could to repel the advancing red Jamun. At Redgate on lap seven Slaghekke went by, although Uhrhane did try to muster an immediate response. Over the last few laps the Australian had instead to watch his mirrors as Buri zeroed-in while Slaghekke, in third, consolidated the place.
At the front, Malvern's one-second lead was eroded by a resurgent McBride and, going into the final lap, the fight was certainly on. Just 0.2s separated the team-mates going into the last 2.5 miles of racing and the pressure paid off at the hairpin when McBride dived to the inside on the brakes to grab the lead and, with it, his maiden victory. At the chequered flag, just 0.093s split the pair.
"I was pushing like crazy", said McBride. "I didn't a good start, I got stuck behind Geoff and we lost a bit of ground to Scott. Once I got past Geoff I was able to catch Scott a little bit. I was able to get on to the back of him over the last couple of laps and pull off the pass just before we got to the chequered flag.
"I've really enjoyed the track here at Donington, we had some bad luck before this with car troubles so it's really good to bounce back and finally break through for that first win - it's kind of taken the pressure off a bit. I'm really, very happy."
With Slaghekke third to make it a Jamun one-two-three, Uhrhane just held off Buri by 0.2s to take fourth and de Zille rounded out the top six. Parry finished in seventh place, which was held by Luke Williams up until a lap eight retirement in the gravel at the Old Hairpin, while Spike Goddard took eighth.
Schothorst was again the best placed of the guest entries in ninth overall and Scholarship success was Corcoran's in 11th overall, just one second ahead of Marshall. American driver Neil Alberico was served with a drive-through penalty for an out-of-position start and ended the race down in 13th in his Ray.
Provisional resultsDunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain Round 20 (of 24) Donington Park GP 25/9/1112 laps / 29.85 miles1 Nick McBride AUS Jamun Mygale 18m 54.270s / 94.73mph2 Scott Malvern GBR/Ilford Jamun Mygale +0.093s3 Jeroen Slaghekke NED Jamun Mygale +1.217s4 Geoff Uhrhane AUS JTR Mygale +5.257s5 Antti Buri FIN Geva Mygale +5.486s6 Dan de Zille JEY JTR Mygale +12.978s Scholarship Class: Cavan Corcoran GBR/Matlock CDR Ray +32.965s Fastest lap: McBride 1m 33.306s / 95.96mph
Round 2111 laps / 27.36 miles1 Malvern 19m 46.699s / 83.00mph2 Uhrhane +5.201s3 McBride +6.225s4 Matt Parry GBR/Cardiff Fluid Van Diemen +9.256s5 Buri +9.654s6 Steijn Schothorst NED Geva Mygale +10.956s Scholarship Class: Corcoran +30.206s Fastest lap: Parry 1m 46.602s / 83.99mph
Provisional championship standings1 Malvern 559 points; 2 McBride 447; 3 Slaghekke 424; 4 Buri 416; 5 de Zille 343; 6 Uhrhane 310 etc Scholarship class 1 Corcoran 495; 2 Matt Rao 159 etc
Final rounds 8/9 October, Silverstone