Strong Formula Ford return for Louise Richardson

Louise Richardson enjoyed a strong return to the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain with a brace of top eight finishes during the fifth meeting of the season at Croft.The 21-year-old Aston University student was making only her second appearance of the year in the single-seater series having concluded a deal that will see her contest the remainder of the season with her family-run Richardson Racing team.The Croft meeting marked the first time she had got behind the wheel of her Ford EcoBoost-powered Mygale since the Brands Hatch season opener in late March, although she was quickly up to speed and qualified tenth for the first race of the weekend.A stunning start when the lights went out saw Louise move up to eighth place on the opening lap of the 20 minute race, although a spin on lap two would then see her drop right to the back of the field.Putting the frustration of the incident to one side, Louise soon started chasing down the car ahead and having passed the Sinter of Greg Holloway, set about closing the gap to fellow Scholarship runner Chris Mealin ahead.Louise had brought that gap down by nearly two seconds before a three-car incident at Tower saw the Safety Car deployed and it would remain on track until the chequered flag to leave Louise in eight place overall and third amongst the Scholarship runners.Despite getting bogged down at the start in race two, Louise would repeat the feat as she battled gearbox gremlins to match her result, with the team then working to try and resolve the issue in time for the final race of the weekend on Sunday.Starting from tenth on the grid, Louise maintained her place through the opening lap and would take advantage of a clash ahead to climb up into eighth – leaving her well placed to secure a third Scholarship class podium of the weekend.However, further gearbox problems would see her drop back to ninth and with the car becoming stuck in fifth gear, she was forced to retire in the closing stages to avoid causing terminal damage to the engine.“If I’m being honest, I think this weekend went better than I thought it would, considering I haven’t driven the car since Brands Hatch and everyone else came here having done nearly half a season of racing and a lot more testing,” she said. “I was able to match the pace of the other Scholarship drivers which was really encouraging and I felt a lot more comfortable in the car.“I know there are ways in which I still need to improve but this weekend has lifted my confidence a lot. Although it wasn’t nice to finish the weekend with a DNF, I think I’ve shown what I can do in the first two races and with more time in the car, I’m confident that I can come out fighting in the second half of the season and move forwards to start challenging the guys ahead.”