Solid start to MSA Formula season for Goddard and Double R

Australian teen Goddard just misses podium on MSA Formula debut Best result of fourth for Double R rookie on opening weekend of seasonGerman racer Schreiner takes hat-trick of top 15 finishes

Zane Goddard secured a best finish of fourth position on his debut outing with Double R Racing in the Ford MSA Formula Championship at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit over the weekend, 2nd/3rd April, to get his maiden campaign on British soil off to a strong start.

The 16-year-old, from Surfers Paradise in Australia, only just missed out on a podium result in a rain affected, and re-started, second round on Saturday afternoon – his fourth place finish also coming minus his Mygale’s rear wing following late race contact. With the addition of ninth place in race one and eighth in round three, Goddard concluded the weekend ninth in the driver standings.

Fellow Ford MSA Formula rookie, team-mate Carrie Schreiner, posted a hat-trick of top 15 finishes on her first outing in the championship and now returns to competition in the ADAC Formula 4 category in Germany, before reappearing in the British series at Thruxton in May.

“We know we had the pace to be on the podium this weekend, as always at Brands Hatch though everything is about qualifying and that didn’t go to plan”, said Double R team principal Anthony ‘Boyo’ Hieatt, “Zane did a good job overall and he’s definitely going to be one to watch this year, Carrie’s weekend was a bit tougher but her pace is good. Again, qualifying was the deciding factor.”

Fresh from race victory in the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship seven days prior, Woking team Double R aimed for more silverware at Brands Hatch this weekend to get its Ford MSA Formula bid off to a similarly glittering start.

Goddard was in the thick of the battle at the sharp end in qualifying on Saturday morning but was edged down the order during the closing stages to finish 10th on the timesheets, while team-mate Schreiner qualified 14th on the grid for the first race of the weekend.

After a good start, Goddard climbed into ninth place and remained there race-long bottled up behind Alex Quinn for the 22-lap duration. Seeing off the attentions of Devlin Defrancesco, Goddard made several attempts to pressure Quinn but a clear-cut opportunity to pass wasn’t forthcoming.

Schreiner, meanwhile, slipped back to 16th over the course of the first couple of tours but moved back into the top 15 around two-thirds distance when Ross Martin ran off the circuit at Druids. Following a four lap Safety Car period, racing resumed for one final lap but Schreiner stayed 15th.

For round two on Saturday afternoon, Goddard lined-up on pole position on the ‘reverse grid’ but was elbowed down to fourth on the opening lap after being put onto the grass at one point. He did battle back into the podium places on lap three, as light rain began to fall, but the order changed again and he was edged back to fifth as the action intensified.

On lap six the Safety Car was deployed and when racing resumed on lap 10 the grip levels were significantly reduced as the rain worsened. With several cars coming to grief in the conditions, officials opted to Red Flag the contest at the halfway point to enable the teams to fit treaded wet-weather rubber to their cars prior to a re-start.

The second portion of the race ran over nine laps and Goddard finished in fourth place, just 1.1 seconds shy of the podium – a strong result in itself and especially so considering he lost his rear wing after contact.

Schreiner, who started 15th on the grid for the original race, slipped back to 16th position initially and then 17th a couple of laps later. Prior to the appearance of the Safety Car, though, the German 17-year-old had moved back into the top 15 and that’s where she finished in the re-started contest.

In round three on Sunday, televised live on ITV4, Goddard made an excellent start from ninth on the grid and instantly moved into eighth but, out of Paddock Hill Bend, he was shuffled back to 10th. On lap two, he moved back up into ninth, following an excursion for Jamie Caroline, and the Double R driver continued to circulate in that position glued to the rear wing of Defrancesco.

Producing lap times a match for podium pace into the second half of the contest, the Australian swarmed all over the back of his rival’s car but just couldn’t find a breakthrough opportunity and ended the 26 lap contest in ninth just 0.299 seconds shy of the top eight. Post-race, though, a time penalty for Sennan Fielding elevated Goddard to eighth.

In the second Double R car, Schreiner started race three from 12th place and held station initially before gaining a position when Caroline ran off the circuit at the exit of Paddock Hill. Following a moment on lap nine, though, she slipped back to 15th position and remained there to the flag.

With Schreiner unable to contest the next three rounds of Ford MSA Formula action due to her commitments in the ADAC Formula 4 series, 16-year-old Goddard will be Double R Racing’s sole representative at Donington Park a fortnight from now on 16th/17th April.

2016 Ford MSA Formula Driver Standings (after Rd3):9th Zane Goddard, 18pts; No score – Carrie Schreiner

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