Two-time MSA Formula race winner Matheus Leist concluded the championship’s inaugural season a highly respectable fifth in the title standings for Double R Racing after a frustratingly mixed category finale at Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit over the weekend, 10th/11th October.
With the undoubted speed to challenge for pole position in qualifying and also mount a bid to add to his tally of seven podiums, things didn’t work out as intended for the rapid Brazilian and he instead had to settle for a best finish of seventh place in the last race of the campaign.
Tarun Reddy, meanwhile, had an even more vexing finale which brought a continuation of the bad luck which has cruelly hampered his challenge this season. Despite two non-finishes in rounds 28 and 29, the Indian posted a 13th place in round 30 and went on to end the championship campaign an unrepresentative 15th in the standings.
“It’s been a tough weekend unfortunately for Matheus and Tarun and not how we wanted to end the season, but fifth in the championship is a pretty good result”, said Double R’s team principal Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt, “We had the pace to be on pole with Matheus in qualifying, and that would have made all the difference, but it wasn’t to be – he did race well as always though.
“Tarun has had a lot of knocks this year, he’s had some terrible luck and that continued for him in the first couple of races on Saturday. We know he’s got the pace to be at the front, it just hasn’t worked out for him this season.”
Fresh from a superb victory in the previous event at Silverstone a fortnight ago, hopes were high of a continuation of that form for Leist but qualifying and race one didn’t go to plan. In the fight for pole position, the Brazilian had an unfortunate excursion in the final sector of the Grand Prix loop when on course to bag the fastest time in the grid-determining session.
Resulting in a seventh place start for round 28, Leist certainly had the pace to try and make progress but after being forced off the track at Graham Hill Bend on the first lap his involvement ended there and then.
Team-mate Reddy didn’t have much to celebrate either in the opening contest when he had to retire to the pits just a couple of laps into the race with gearbox problems. The Indian had qualified 14th on the grid for the first of Saturday’s two races.
Race two began with the Double R drivers at the back of the grid due to their opening encounter maladies. Reddy started in 18th and made swift gains, climbing into the top 15 before the end of lap two. Into 14th place by lap five, he held position for the next few laps but was forced out of the contest on lap 11 after an unfortunate excursion.
Leist, from 19th position, leapt into 16th place on the first lap and then climbed into 13th position on the second tour. Continuing his stunning progress, the Brazilian broke into the top 10 by lap four but a moment on the fifth tour led to a drop down to 18th position. Doing his best to recover, with pace quicker than the podium finishers, he climbed back into 14th spot before the finish.
For the final race of the MSA Formula season on Sunday, Reddy lined-up in 12th position with Leist just behind in 14th place and the latter made the better start, rocketing into the top 10 on the first lap with Reddy maintaining 12th place.
Climbing through the order well, Leist was into seventh place by lap three and the South American remained there for the remainder of the contest, albeit as part of an incredibly tightly bunched train of five cars nose-to-tail from third to seventh. With little to separate the quintet at the chequered flag Leist, in seventh spot, was little more than a second shy of the podium.
Reddy unfortunately slipped back to 14th position on lap three and, after a tangle with Josh Smith a lap later, he dropped a couple of places before fighting his way through to 13th position before the conclusion on lap 14.
While the MSA Formula season is now complete, Double R Racing will be on track again next weekend, 17th/18th October, at Hockenheim in Germany for the final three races of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship.
Final 2015 MSA Formula Championship Standings: 5th Matheus Leist, 273pts; 15th Tarun Reddy, 77pts; 20th Gustavo Myasava, 19pts