KRUGER STRIKES GOLD TWICE TO TAKE FORMULA FORD LEAD
Kruger flanked on the podium by Sam Brabham (left) and Juan Rosso. Photo: www.jakobebrey.com
Jayde Kruger claimed his second victory of the fledgling Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship season at Brands Hatch yesterday, JTR’s South African star overhauling Harrison Scott 10 laps from the end of the weekend finale to take the win, and with it a slender championship lead.
Scott had led confidently from pole position all the way up to that point, getting the better of Kruger away from the line and keeping him at bay. Unfortunately for Scott, an incident between his team-mate Ricky Collard and JTR’s Max Marshall brought out the Safety Car for three laps, and Kruger got the jump at the restart.
There was contact between Kruger and Scott on the final Safety Car lap. The incident was investigated by race stewards but no action was deemed necessary. Kruger was clear about events: “Just before the restart Harrison braked sharply through Clark Curve. He was trying to back me up and then pull a gap on me before the startline and we touched… Then he made a mistake through Paddock Hill Bend, ran in too fast, ran wide and I came up the inside.
“I would’ve been happy enough with second place,” added Jayde, “but this win has just helped us along a little bit more. I’m glad to have put Brands Indy behind us and now to be heading for longer, faster circuits which should suit us even better.” Kruger went on to cross the line with 1.1s in hand.
After he was passed by Kruger, Scott also fell behind the cars of Juan Rosso and Sam Brabham. Said Harrison: “The pack closed up under the safety car and at the restart I got a big hit from Jayde going into the final corner. That sent me wide and on to the dirty part of the track, through all the rubbish, which got on to my tyres and slowed me up… Once I had fallen behind everyone, my tyres started to clean up and my pace was okay again.”
Harrison’s misfortune was handy for both Rosso and Brabham, neither of whom had hitherto enjoyed much luck at Brands Hatch. Juan had been bottled up behind Marshall up to the 12th lap, and once past Max found himself some way behind the leading duo. Having passed Harrison for second, Juan battled with Brabham to defend it to the flag, and was delighted to emerge on top: “It’s good after everything that has happened this weekend, good for me and good for the team. Everybody happy.”
Brabham was equally delighted to have salvaged a podium from his weekend, which began with promising pace shown in testing but suffered a blow with a race-one accident with Rosso. Scott followed Rosso and Brabham home for fourth place.
Fifth might well have gone to either Marshall or Collard, but they came together at the Druids hairpin on unlucky lap 13 when Ricky dived up Max’s inside and was squeezed out. Collard was left stranded mid-track but Marshall was able to get his race underway once again.
Jack Barlow had an eventful race too, recovering from a ‘mare’ of a start to battle back from dead last to eighth by lap eight. He picked up two more places from Collard and Marshall and then despatched Abbott for fifth position with nine laps to run. Marshall limped home behind Abbot for seventh.
With Collard’s demise the Scholarship class lead fell into the lap of his Falcon team-mate Chris Mealin, who more than rose to the challenge of keeping Meridian Racing twins Connor Mills and Ashley Sutton behind him. “I had to give it my all,” said the Manxman. “The last five minutes of the race seemed to take forever and I just had to keep calm and carry on. My tyres were just about gone and the car was sliding everywhere. I have to say huge thanks to all the guys at Falcon for a great job throughout the weekend.”
After two driveshaft-related retirements, Mills was delighted just to have made the end of the race, let alone to have claimed Scholarship second: “Every lap that passed I was worrying about whether the car was OK but the team did such a great job for me that everything was perfect this time.”
Mealin, Mills and Sutton completed the top 10, with Louise Richardson and her Richardson Racing team-mate Ben Constanduros next up, ahead of SWB Sinter men James Webb and Greg Holloway.
Saturday’s action saw a superb start to the new season with Radical’s James Abbott winning round 2 after Kruger’s opening victory, with Harrison Scott second in each race. It all bodes well for a very competitve season ahead! A full report on Saturday’s two races can be found at http://www.britishformulaford.co.uk/news/latest-news/