(Colton Herta, son of Verizon IndyCar Series and Red Bull Global Rallycross team owner Bryan Herta, captured his first win in the British MSA Formula series on Sunday.)
Colton Herta, who yesterday spun away what could have been his maiden MSA Formula win, this morning redeemed himself with a level-headed drive to victory in Round 17 at Snetterton. There were no errors forthcoming today from the 15-year-old American – the youngest in the race – whose Carlin-prepared and Ford EcoBoost-powered car swept into the lead past Jack Barlow after three laps and held on in front to clinch the race by a 3.5-second margin.
Barlow, starting from the pole in the reverse-grid race by dint of his 10th place finish yesterday, led Herta and the rest away from the grid in his MBM-run machine and held on to top spot until they exited Murrays at the end of the third, whereafter he was unable to prevent Herta, who got a better exit from the corner, from accelerating past. Worse was to come for Jack: race officials deemed he had anticipated the start and hit him with a drive-through penalty.
Herta’s hopes of building an advantage where thwarted after contact between the cars of Ameya Vaidyanathan (JTR) and Ollie Pidgley (Richardson Racing) brought out the safety car while Vaidyanathan’s car was retrieved from where it had come to rest. Colton handled the restart perfectly with Barlow (yet to take his penalty) and Double R’s Tarun Reddy in pursuit. Sennan Fielding (JHR) managed to dislodge Dan Ticktum (Fortec) from fourth at the restart but faltered when he found some oil on the circuit before the end of the seventh lap, allowing Ticktum to repass.
Reddy erred at the restart, colliding with the rear of Barlow’s car – which earned the Indian a post-race reprimand – and then again on lap eight, when he spun at Palmer and lost three places. It was good news for Ticktum who, when Barlow peeled off to take his drive-through, was promoted to P2. Dan crossed the line three-and-a-half seconds behind Herta – an impressive result from 10th on the grid – with Fielding completing the podium.
Said winner Colton Herta, who pockets a £1000 Ford prize: “It was quite an upset yesterday but this makes up for it. I should have gotten a better start but I was right there and waiting to see if there would be a mistake, and there was, so I made my move. It’s so hard to pass here that really you need another driver to make a mistake to be able to get by. It’s nice to get my first win under my belt.”
Third, Sennan Fielding: “It was a good race – enjoyable after all the problems we had in testing and qualifying. I got Ticktum at the restart but there was oil down at Palmer and I had to run wide and it caught me out a little bit.”
One of the drives of the race came from Fortec man Toby Sowery, who started 11th on the grid and made steady progress to climb to eighth before the safety car and then gained two more slots on the restart lap at the expense of TRS Arden team-mates Enaam Ahmed and Ricky Collard. Reddy’s spin and Barlow’s drive-through promoted Toby to a season-best fourth at the line. Reddy placed fifth with Collard getting the jump on Ahmed at the restart to secure sixth.
Ahmed crossed the line seventh overall (and second Rookie). “I made a few mistakes at the restart which cost me a couple of places,” said Enaam, “but overall I am happy with the way things have gone for me at the start of the second half of the season. When you come to cars from karts, something needs to click and it seems to have done so…” Ahmed finished ahead of Carlin’s Lando Norris and Jack Butel (JHR), whose ninth place was the best of his season so far. Josh Smith (Fortec) passed Petru Florescu (Carlin) on the final lap to complete the overall top 10 and the Rookie class podium.
Rafa Martins (SWB) and Dan Baybutt (JTR) finished in line astern for 12th and 13th with Louise Richardson (Richardson Racing) recovering well from a third-lap spin to take 14th, just ahead of Darius Karbaley’s Falcon car and JTR’s James Pull, who started from the back after a five-place grid penalty following contact in race one. Jessica Hawkins maintained her 100 per cent finish rate for the Falcon team with 17th, ahead of the penalised Barlow and Pidgley, who visited the pits for repairs after his contact with Vaidyanathan.
Double R’s Matheus Leist and TRS Arden man Sandy Mitchell both suffered mechanical issues and failed to finish.