Podiums aplenty for James Pull on opening weekend of MSA Formula

James Pull had a weekend to remember with second and third place finishes in a thrilling start to the new MSA Formula Championship.

The 15-year-old was in superb form for JTR at Brands Hatch in his first competitive race in a car after making the transition from karts at the beginning of the year. And in picking up two podiums in the Rookie class standings as well, he in fact finished on the podium four times in total, leaving him in fourth place overall and second in the Rookie class by the end of the weekend.

It left the ADD Motorsports-supported driver in a buoyant mood after three rounds that exceeded all expectation - but have now left him believing he can compete at the very top of the grid for the rest of the season. A delighted James - originally from Singapore but currently based in Herts - said: “It was the best I’d felt for ages, it was a really awesome weekend.

“I was nervous to begin with but when I got through the nerves, the adrenaline kicked in.“I came into this weekend wanting to learn as much as I could and gain some experience in cars, but to get four podiums and end up top Rookie in Round Three was amazing.“I’m so happy with how it went.”

The new MSA Formula – certified by FIA and powered by Ford EcoBoost - replaces British Formula Ford on the BTCC support bill and will be contested over 30 races across 10 meetings.

It is also open to 15-year-old drivers, attracting the cream of the world’s young motor racing talent for the inaugural season – and had a huge following for its first weekend.

James was fast in practice, but it was JTR’s decision to start him on wet tyres and change to a new set at the perfect moment during qualifying that really paid dividends, helping him to some fast lap times and a third place start for Round One.

He didn’t get off to the best of starts in the first race when he dropped the clutch slightly aggressively, causing him to spin on the damp inside track and lose his position. But he did well to come back strongly and finish eighth.

The reverse grid meant he began Round Two in poll position and he got off to a much better start.

The Haileybury College driver was hit by another racer before the race was neutralised by the safety car, which affected him slightly.

However, he managed to keep his focus and hold off the competition towards the end of the race to finish third. Impressively, it was a podium in only his second race behind the wheel of a car.

James started Round Three in P2 and got off to a flier at the lights to lead into Paddock Hill Bend.Despite another safety car intervention, the teen kept his lead for most of the race, but on the second safety car wasn’t so lucky.He did, however, manage to hold off his competitors to take second place and the Rookie class win – rounding off a remarkable and memorable weekend.He said: “The team made a great choice with my tyres in qualifying and it set me up nicely, so I have to thank them.

“My start wasn’t great in the first race, but I learned from that and was a lot better in the next two races.“I was leading for most of the final race, but Lando got the jump on me after the second safety car restart and there wasn’t much I could do. He was on new tyres and I knew it was going to be tough to hold him off.“But overall, this weekend has now given me real confidence going forward.“I’ve realised I can keep learning and gaining experience as originally planned, but be competitive in the Championship and Rookie class at the same time.”“I can’t wait for the next round at Donington Park now!”

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