Formula Ford

Gripping Donington Finale Sets Up Nail-Biting Formula Ford Finale

4 Mins read

JTR's Daniel Cammish took the win in Round 23 of the 2010 Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain at Donington Park, but it was contact between championship rivals Scott Pye and Scott Malvern that proved to be the race's main talking point. With the incident forcing Pye into retirement, the championship standings have been shaken up once again, with Malvern back on top as they head to what's likely to be an exhilarating season finale at Brands Hatch next weekend, with just 13 points separating the championship protagonists with just two races remaining.

Pye started the race on pole position, as he had for each of the weekend's three races in front of a bumper BTCC crowd. Cammish lined up alongside him, with team mate Tio Ellinas third, followed by Jamun Racing duo Emil Bernstorff and Josh Hill, with Malvern lining up sixth.

For the third race in succession, Pye produced a good start to lead the field into Redgate for the first time, followed by Cammish and Ellinas, with a great start for Malvern seeing him slot into fourth. Cammish was quickly placing Pye under immense pressure and better traction out the final Chicane saw him drive around the outside of Pye along the start finish straight to take the lead.

As they approached Redgate, Ellinas tried to mount a move around the outside of Pye, but contact between the two lost Ellinas a place, with Malvern moving into third, right on the back of his main championship rival. Ellinas was to lose out later in the lap, a slight mistake allowing Bernstorff and Hill past, dropping the Cypriot to sixth.

Hill then made a move on Bernstorff, drawing alongside his team mate at Redgate, with the pair running side by side down the Craner Curves, before he made the move stick at the Old Hairpin. Ahead, a good run out of Coppice allowed Malvern to draw alongside Pye along the Dunlop straight, getting past at the Chicane for second.

The fighting allowed Cammish to break away at the front, with there now a five car train for second. It ended in tears on lap five, with a mistake by Malvern at the Old Hairpin bunching the quintet up as they headed into McLeans, with Pye back in fifth after being pushed back at Redgate. As they approached the right hander, Hill looked to get up the inside of Bernstorff, but braking too late, ran into the back of Malvern, sending his Mygale into the air, into the gravel and out of the race, collecting Bernstorff in the process, who was able to limp out the gravel and continue, but right down the order.

The contact had also damaged Malvern's car, bending a wishbone at the back of the car, but he was able to continue in second, but had Pye right on the back of him. Pye dived to the inside along the Dunlop straight, with Malvern pushing him onto the grass. Pye held onto it though and pushed through at the Chicane to take second, with Malvern now having Ellinas right on his gearbox.

A battle worn Scott Malvern

The battling behind had allowed Cammish to build up a lead of over five and a half seconds by the beginning of lap seven, while behind, there was no space between Pye, Malvern and Ellinas as they headed into the Chicane, with a slight lockup for Pye forcing him to cut across the gravel to stay ahead. Before the stewards were able to decide if he gained an unfair advantage, Pye's race was over in spectacular fashion.

As they approached the Chicane next time round, the trio were again running nose to tail. Contact on the back of Malvern's car by Ellinas sent him into the back of Pye's, spinning Pye out the race, with James Tucker and Garry Findlay caught up in the chaos, with both also spinning out. Malvern managed to continue in second, though Ellinas' race was over too, his Mygale left stranded in the Redgate gravel with broken steering.

The safety car was quickly deployed to remove the stricken cars, with Cammish's seven second lead from Malvern wiped out. After the mayhem, it was Jeroen Slaghekke who had benefited most to move up to third, after starting eleventh on the grid, ahead of Dan de Zille, Antti Buri and Phillipe Layac.

After four laps behind the safety car, Cammish held his nerve to make a perfect restart and quickly set about rebuilding his lead. With a damaged car, Malvern had to defend hard for second, with Slaghekke pushing him hard. Behind, a lock up for fourth placed de Zille at McLeans pitched him into a spin, collecting Buri in the process. While de Zille was able to recover to the back of the pack, the unfortunate Buri saw his race over in the gravel.

As they entered the final lap, Cammish was enjoying a comfortable run to the line to take his second win of the season, in the process strengthening his hold on third in the championship. Malvern held on to second for some vital championship points, with Slaghekke enjoying his first ever Formula Ford GB podium in third. With many of the front runners succumbing to retirement, Layac enjoyed his best finish of the season in fourth, ahead of Indian driver Zaamin Jaffer and Irish ace Cormac O'Neill. After his earlier off, Bernstorff recovered to seventh, ahead of guest driver Andrew Richardson and Scholarship class contenders Luke Williams and Tristan Mingay, with de Zille the final finisher in eleventh.

After three sensational races at Donington, it's Malvern who leads the way on paper, with a 13 point lead over Pye, though when dropped scores are taken into account, Pye in fact holds a 7 point advantage. The Scholarship class is also going down to the wire, with Mingay holding a 16 point lead of Williams heading into what's set up to be an enthralling season finale at Brands Hatch next weekend.

Photo credits: Jakob Ebrey Photography

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About author
Simon provides coverage of the support championships for the BTCC, having been a fixture in the TOCA paddock for over six years.
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