F4 British Championship

Collard And Norris Top Brands Hatch MSA Formula Test

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A selection of drivers and teams from the new-for-2015 MSA Formula championship were at Brands Hatch today for the first timed test day of the pre-season.

Thirteen cars were on track for two sessions, the morning’s running coming in damp conditions before the heavens opened for the afternoon.

It was Formula Ford podium-finisher Ricky Collard who topped the timesheets in the morning in his TRS Arden machine, a best lap time of 52.574 seconds helping him narrowly pip JTR’s Daniel Baybutt by 0.088s.

Colton Herta led the Carlin charge in third, with his team-mates Lando Norris and Petru Florescu sixth and tenth respectively. Fortec Motorsport’s Daniel Ticktum was fourth fastest, just over a quarter of a second behind Collard.

Arden’s Sandy Mitchell and Enaam Ahmed were fifth and eighth, with JTR’s James Pull seventh and Fortec’s Josh Smith in ninth in his Racing Steps Foundation-backed car.

SWB Motorsport got their new cars on track for the first time, with Rafael Martins and Jack Butel eleventh and twelfth, the former yet to be confirmed for the series. Greg Holloway completed the morning’s leaderboard with Richardson Racing.

In the wet afternoon’s running, in which lap times were over two seconds slower than those set in the morning, it was Norris who led a Carlin one-two ahead of Herta with a best time of 54.576s. JTR’s Pull and Baybutt were next up, the top four separated by 1.416s.

Florescu completed a strong afternoon for Carlin in fifth, the Romanian finishing over half a second faster than his next competitors, Ahmed and Ticktum.

An improved showing for SWB saw Butel and Martins complete the top nine ahead of Arden duo Collard and Mitchell, with Alexandra Marinescu twelfth in the car driven previously by Holloway, with Smith thirteenth.

“To be honest we were just following our running plan and working through our test programme; we were not too fussed what times were being set, so be at the top is no bad thing…” said Collard.

“The car feels good: the aero package, the mechanical grip and the way the Ford engine is working is so efficient, it’s awesome and I’m really enjoying driving it.”

Best Morning Times: Collard 52.574, Baybutt 52.662, Herta 52.747, Ticktum 52.848, Mitchell 52.892, Norris 52.914s

Best Afternoon Times: Norris 54.576, Herta 55.211, Pull 55.235, Baybutt 55.992, Florescu 56.360, Ahmed 56.939

Full times from the test can be found by clicking here.

All Photos: Jakob Ebrey Photography

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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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