Fielding leads MSA Formula pack at Brands Hatch

Sennan Fielding on top by a whisker from Lando Norris in first official testsCrash disrupts second session as 20 Ford EcoBoost-powered cars make their competitive debut

Sennan Fielding and Lando Norris shared the honours today in the opening skirmishes of the first-ever MSA Formula race weekend. Fifteen-year-old Norris topped the timesheets for Carlin in the first of the day’s sessions, with JHR Developments driver Fielding, 19, quickest in the drier-but-briefer second session.

Fielding’s Ford EcoBoost-powered car set the best time 11 laps into the afternoon session, moments before red flags brought it to a premature halt after a crash blocked the circuit. The resulting delay while the track was cleared deprived any of Sennan’s 19 rivals from a chance to respond, but the Chesterfield racer was happy that his pace was representative: “I’m pleased with that; the car felt really good so I’m feeling confident… We had a little bracket break at the front end which caused a little bit of understeer, so I feel that we can definitely improve tomorrow. There’s more time to come.”

Fielding was ninth fastest in the morning session on fresh and unprepared slick tyres; he found his Hankooks perfectly run-in for the start of session two.

Norris was quick in both sessions, edging Fortec’s Dan Ticktum off the top in the closing seconds of session one and then running to within four-hundredths of a second of Fielding in the afternoon test. Lando was denied the chance to beat Sennan by a collision between the cars of Alexandra Marinescu (Falcon) and Tarun Reddy (Double R); they made contact at Paddock Hill Bend after 15-year-old Marinescu spun. Neither driver was hurt in the incident but Alexandra’s car was too badly damaged to play any further part in the weekend. With the session ended prematurely, teams were being offered the opportunity for some additional test running at the end of the day.

Reddy’s Double R team-mate Matheus Leist was third fastest overall, the Brazilian just three-thousandths shy of Norris’s best lap. Less than eight-tenths of a second covered the top 11, with Formula Ford frontrunner Ricky Collard fourth overall for Arden, just ahead of Carlin’s Colton Herta and the leading rookie, Sandy Mitchell (Arden).

Ticktum, second quickest to Norris in the morning, ended the second session eighth but was far from disheartened: “To start off it was wet but drying quite quickly, and we were fast, which was encouraging because previously we weren’t quite on the pace in the wet. Now we’re fine… As it dried out the pace was good, too. I could have gone a little quicker I think but I’m feeling confident as we head towards the first race.”

The opening round of MSA Formula – Certified by FIA, Powered by Ford EcoBoost is tomorrow afternoon at Brands Hatch, with two further races scheduled for Easter Sunday.

MSA Formula – Certified by FIA, Powered by Ford EcoBoostPre-race testing times (am/pm) Brands Hatch 3 April 20151 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 51.652s / 46.7422 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin 50.624s / 46.7823 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R 51.349s / 46.7854 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden 51.332s / 46.8045 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin 51.308s / 46.8126 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden 52.347s / 46.9467 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R 52.623s / 47.1798 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec 50.665s / 47.3219 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden 51.327s / 47.38210 James PULL / GBR / JTR 52.203s / 47.450 etc

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