MAKE OR BREAK FOR MSA FORMULA TITLE FIGHT


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Lando Norris will give his all to chase down Ricky Collard this weekend – Photo: jakobebrey.com

Just nine races remain over which to decide the outcome of the inaugural MSA Formula Championship, and which of the Ford EcoBoost-powered youngsters will race away with the title FIA Formula 4 Champion of Great Britain.

The first three of those nine outings come this weekend (4/5 September) at Northamptonshire’s Rockingham Motor Speedway, where championship leader Ricky Collard will be battling to defend his slender points lead after a weekend of mixed fortunes at Knockhill last month both for him and his chief rival, Lando Norris.

Carlin’s 15-year-old star Norris won the first Knockhill race with Collard’s TRS Arden car retiring after sustaining damage; in race two it was Norris’s turn to suffer a race-ending knock while Collard chased from the back of the grid to seventh; and in the third race Collard claimed the win with Norris finishing a slightly beaten-up seventh.

The big victor in Scotland was JHR Developments driver Sennan Fielding, who was in the right places at the right times to profit from the misfortunes of others. Sennan came away with a win and two thirds to move into championship third, within striking distance of Collard and Norris should they suffer further misfortune. Norris has now collected five race wins this season, Collard four and Fielding three.

If there is uncertainty in the main championship, the outcome of the Rookie class is in little doubt with Fortec driver Dan Ticktum well on course to claim the championship honours thanks to 11 class wins from 21 races. Who will finish the year as his Rookie runner-up looks to be between Collard’s TRS Arden team-mates Enaam Ahmed and Sandy Mitchell, both of whom shone at Knockhill, with Ahmed making the overall podium for the first time.

Double karting World Champion Ahmed,15, will arrive at Rockingham on the crest of a wave having claimed his maiden car-racing victories last weekend at Parnu, Estonia, in the SMP F4 Championship.

The season’s other MSA Formula race winners are Carlin’s Colton Herta, who did the double at Snetterton, Fortec Rookie Josh Smith and Double R’s Matheus Leist. Rockingham is a local track for Grantham-based Louise Richardson and the Richardson Racing team, and also hoping to do well on home turf will be Nick Tandy’s Pavenham-based JTR team, whose driver is Dan Baybutt, last on the podium at the high-speed Thruxton track.

Nick Carter