Unpredictability and excitement are the key elements of the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain, and those factors will be heightened next weekend (14/15 May) when the Ford-backed series visits the all-new Snetterton circuit in Norfolk for the first time.
The old Snetterton was all about high-speed slipstreaming but the new circuit - which retains the former layout’s long straights - adds a further mile of challenging bends to the mix and is certain to play havoc with the form book as the Duratec-powered Formula Ford heroes get to grips with their new playground.
A clean sweep of race victories at Oulton Park over Easter by Scott Malvern has made the Essex youngster very much the man to watch. Malvern’s hat-trick of wins in Cheshire was accompanied by three pole positions and three fastest laps, rocketing the Jamun Racing Mygale pilot to second in the standings.
The man Malvern needs to unseat from championship top spot is his team-mate Jeroen Slaghekke; just turned 19, the Dutch driver has a first win under his belt now, having triumphed in round two at Silverstone, and has yet to finish outside the top five. If Jeroen continues to manage that level of consistency, it could be season’s end before Scott has a sniff of the series lead.
JTR driver Geoff Uhrhane, the round three victor, and his team-mate Dan de Zille are the men looking likeliest to prevent a Jamun win at Snetterton; Jerseyman de Zille is overdue his first victory and Australian Uhrhane will be keen to recover from what was, for him and the Nick Tandy-run Mygale team, a disappointing set of outings at Oulton Park.
Jamun’s Aussie twins, Nick McBride and Spike Goddard, are edging closer to the front, too, with McBride a handy second to Malvern in Oulton’s round five. The other podium finishers so far this year have been JTR’s Tristan Mingay and fast Finn Antti Buri in the LMS Racing Mygale.
In addition to the fantastically close racing, the other great thing about Formula Ford is the chassis diversity, and this weekend the promising Ray drivers Neil Alberico, Jonny McMullan, Jesse Anttila and - a guest driver this weekend - Ville Kivinen will be redoubling their efforts, as will the Norfolk heroes of Fluid Motorsport and Van Diemen, whose young protégé Matthew Parry is part of the Air Asia Team Lotus driver development programme.
Parry scored his best race finish so far - sixth - last time out, and the multiple kart champion is pleased with his progress: “I’ve had the chance to test quite a bit at Snetterton and I’ve learned a few new things about set-up and the circuit which will be a help, I hope. So far, I feel I have improved with every outing but it is a very steep learning curve. Hopefully I will be up there in the top five at Snetterton.”
Matt’s driver mentor, ex-F1 star Alex Yoong, is expected at Snetterton to provide the 17-year-old with additional guidance.
There’s more local interest in the progress of Ipswich racer David Ellesley, who will be bidding to break into the top 10 with the Juno at a circuit he knows well as a race instructor. Frenchman Philippe Layac, whose years of experience in Formula Ford are beginning to pay dividends for the Rendezvous Racing/Enigma team, will be keen for points, as will Jake Cook, Jamun’s ‘fifth man’, who came back from a nasty Oulton qualifying shunt to score well.
The man to beat in the Scholarship class for the less experienced racers is Derbyshire driver Cavan Corcoran, the Getem Mygale racer so far undefeated in the division despite the best efforts of his class rivals David Moore and Jake Jackson in their Tockwith Motorsports Rays.
Round 7 of the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, with Rounds 8 and 9 supporting the British Formula 3 and British GT Championships on Sunday.
Provisional championship placings after round 61 Jeroen Slaghekke NED Jamun Mygale 146 points2 Scott Malvern GBR/Ilford Jamun Mygale 1243 Geoff Uhrhane AUS JTR Mygale 1184 Nick McBride AUS Jamun Mygale 1175 Dan de Zille JEY JTR Mygale 1166 Antti Buri FIN LMS Mygale 113 etc
Scholarship class1 Cavan Corcoran GBR/Matlock Getem Mygale 1862 David Moore GBR/Tockwith Tockwith Ray 1353 Jake Jackson GBR/Crowborough Tockwith Ray 75