GREAT SCOTT: WIN NUMBER 4 FOR HARRISON
Ricky Collard makes it a Falcon 1-2, with Juan Rosso third for RadicalPole man Ashley Sutton crashes from the lead after three laps
With impeccable timing, Harrison Scott ended his victory drought at Brands Hatch this afternoon, the Falcon Motorsport driver inheriting the lead of Round 28 of the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain after early leader Ashley Sutton crashed out. With tomorrow’s two Brands races remaining in which to decide the outcome of the championship title, Scott now leads his rival Jayde Kruger – who finished fourth this afternoon – by eight points.
In a race punctuated by incidents and a lengthy safety car interlude, Scott took the win by 1.3s from his Falcon team-mate Ricky Collard. It was Harrison’s first win since Croft in June, his fourth of the season and his 23rd podium finish.
Sutton appeared to be cruising to an easy win, the MBM Motorsport driver mastering the tricky damp conditions perfectly to seize the lead away from pole position. By the end of lap three he led by 5.2 seconds, but Ashley then misjudged his entry into Paddock Hill Bend and disappeared into the gravel trap. He was unhurt in the incident, which prompted a four-lap safety car period while his car was removed to safety.
Kruger made a superb start from sixth on the grid, his JTR Mygale rocketing through to second behind Sutton into Paddock Hill Bend. But Jayde soon also fell victim to the conditions, slithering wide at Graham Hill Bend, which allowed Scott to close in and pass him for second a couple of corners later on. Worse was to come for Kruger; by the end of the second lap he had been passed also by Collard and Juan Rosso (Radical) and the South African found himself fifth. “I got a good start but then Harrison got a run on me and got through,” said Jayde. “Then I made a mistake and slipped further back… Then came the safety car and there wasn’t much excitement after that.”
Sutton’s demise handed the lead to Scott, who judged the restart well to hold off Collard and Rosso and lead across the line to complete the eighth lap. To his surprise he found a chequered flag being waved – Ovie Iroro’s Richardson Racing car was beached in the gravel at Paddock and there was too little time remaining on the clock to permit a further safety car period.
“It was such a confusing race,” said Harrison, “but obviously I’m really happy to be back on the top step of the podium after so long. It’s great for my championship hopes – but it’s not over by a long way yet. Both Ashley and I had a lot of wheelspin off the start and Jayde got a flyer, then I managed to get past Jayde and from then on I was trying to keep up with Ash. He was so far ahead of me I didn’t see him go off… The safety car period was really long and difficult, and then of course the race was cut short, which was disappointing but I’ll take the wins any way they come.”
Collard was delighted to come home second behind his team-mate, equalling his best result so far, not least because he suffered a lurid spin on the main straight on the green flag lap. “I think I ran out of talent even before the race started,” joked Ricky. “At least I redeemed myself by scoring a good result after that.”
Rosso was overjoyed to return to the podium for the first time since Croft, mid-season. “I miss the podium really much,” said Juan, who started seventh. “Today I thought maybe I could pass a few cars and maybe get the pole for tomorrow, but when I saw on my pit board I was P3, I said ‘yes!’ I’m really happy; the Radical car is working really good again.”
A slow getaway from fifth on the grid cost Rosso’s Radical team-mate James Abbott a lot of ground on the opening lap; he recovered to finish fifth behind Kruger after passing Louise Richardson’s Richardson Racing Mygale on the final lap. Louise took sixth overall, and second place in the Scholarship class, ahead of Michael O’Brien’s MBM car. Chris Mealin survived brief contact with the cars of Jack Barlow and Marshall on the final lap to bring the Falcon Mygale home eighth, and Greg Holloway (SWB Sinter) was the final finisher after Marshall and Barlow peeled into the pits to retire their damaged cars.
Kruger will get an opportunity to claw back his points deficit thanks to landing pole position for tomorrow’s reverse-grid race, the penultimate round of the championship, which is scheduled for a 10am start at Brands Hatch. The championship finale follows at 1540, live on ITV4.
*The 2013 Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Champion, Dan Cammish, will start tomorrow’s two season-closing rounds of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB from pole position after a brilliant competitive debut in the series. Dan beat the series regulars by two-tenths in qualifying at Brands Hatch at the wheel of his Team Parker Racing-prepared 911.
QualifyingAshley Sutton claimed the qualifying honours, taking twin poles for the MBM Motorsport team at its home circuit, with Harrison Scott running him closest to boost his hopes of title success. Scott’s rival for the crown, Jayde Kruger, recorded only sixth-best time. There was no catching newly crowned Scholarship class champion Sutton in the damp conditions; Ashley’s best time was a quarter of a second better than that of Harrison and his second-best time was seven-tenths quicker.
“Yesterday was my first time on the Grand Prix circuit,” said Sutton, “and it’s fair to say that I love the circuit already, as you’d expect having been on top in every session so far. It’s a proper driver’s circuit. We found a few problems with the car after Rockingham and Silverstone and that seems to be paying off for us.”
Said Falcon Motorsport driver Scott: “That’s a very positive start. The car felt really good. Obviously Ash was quick all the way through and pipped me towards the end of the session, but I’m really happy with P2 especially as Jayde is four places behind me.”
Falcon’s Ricky Collard shone in the final minutes of qualifying, posting third-quickest time in the Duo-backed Mygale, ahead of the cars of Max Marshall (JTR), James Abbott (Radical) and Kruger. Last year’s Brands Hatch GP triple winner, Juan Rosso, was seventh fastest for Radical, ahead of Louise Richardson (Richardson Racing) and Michael O’Brien (MBM). Championship returnee Jack Barlow (MBM) completed the overall top 10 despite missing half the session with a broken throttle cable.
JTR’s Clay Mitchell was an early casualty, his Mygale spearing off into the gravel trap at Paddock Hill Bend, forcing the session to be red-flagged while his car was recovered. Chris Mealin (Falcon) was also claimed by the Paddock Hill Bend gravel late in the session, which resulted in an slightly early end to the session.