BURI CROWNED FORMULA FORD CHAMPION


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The JTR team have ended the seven-year Jamun winning streak. Photo: www.jakobebrey.com


Antti Buri is the 2012 Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Champion of Great Britain. With his measured drive to fifth place in Saturday’s opening race of the three Donington Park series deciders, the 23-year-old Finn put the inaugural Formula Ford EcoBoost crown beyond the reach of any of his rivals.

His season-long rival for the title, 17-year-old Eric Lichtenstein, did everything asked of him – pole position, race win (his 11th) and fastest lap – but the Argentinian was powerless to prevent Buri’s progress to the title.

Antti’s victory is the first Formula Ford championship victory for the JTR team, founded by the late Joe Tandy and now run by his younger brother Nick, and brings to a close a seven-season winning streak for the Jamun Racing team.

It’s been a long apprenticeship in Formula Ford for Buri: he started racing in the Scandinavian series in 2007 and won the Finnish Formula Ford title in 2010 and ’11. He first competed in Britain in 2009 and finished in the UK championship top six last year and the season before.

His first Formula Ford win in Britain did not come along until the start of this year, when he won the opening round at Oulton Park, the first race of the EcoBoost Formula Ford era.

“That was an amazing weekend,” said Antti “I think we got the car on the Wednesday before Oulton Park, had just two test days to get used to it, and then we won the first race.” A further win followed at Brands Hatch in May, and then Buri and JTR really got into their stride, winning six times in succession at Rockingham and Brands Hatch in June.

“I have really enjoyed my season,” added Buri. “It has been great to work with JTR and we have had good pace all year. The start of the year, when it really mattered for the championship, was really good. In the second half of the year I had a big lead in the championship and was thinking about scoring points and not wins. At Snetterton I lost two race wins, one from my own mistake and one because of the safety car. When I look back at my Formula Ford career, I remember we started with my father’s team, renting a car and with no experience of single-seaters. It has been a long road but a good one.”

Antti is looking forward to a new chapter opening for him as he prepares to take up his prize for winning the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford title: an expenses-paid trip to the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a free full-day test in a USF2000 single-seater, followed by a further full-day test in a Star Mazda car, as part of Formula Ford’s valuable association with the renowned Road To Indy programme. The tests take place 10/11 October.

“It’s going to be good, to drive a car with a lot of power and wings at Indianapolis. I would love to stay in single-seaters but it’s very expensive and difficult to be a professional driver at that level.”

Buri completes his mechanical engineering studies at home in Turku this year and, with a year’s national service in the Finnish military under his belt, is looking forward to furthering his career in motorsport, behind the wheel and in the pits.

Jake Cook won Sunday’s race which turned out to be the last of the season as the third was cancelled due to delays in the schedule caused by accidents in the GT1 sports car event.

The full results from Donington Park can be viewed here; http://www.tsl-timing.com/bf3gt/2012/123905foz.pdf