Another great drive from American Colton Herta means he takes victory in the final MSA Formula race at Rockingham. The result ensures he clings on as a championship contender in a weekend that has seen mixed fortunes for the top five breakaway drivers.
Herta started on pole having set the quickest of the second-fastest times in qualifying. He was joined on the front row by team-mate Lando Norris, who made a poor initial getaway as he fought to keep his second place.
Sennan Fielding had started fourth and was already fighting Norris in turn one. He kept to the outside of the hairpin, but outbraked himself and slid off into the tyre barrier. The retirement was his first since Thruxton back in May and severely dented his title hopes.
A safety car was called to clear the track of the damaged car of Fielding as Herta settled down into the lead. Dan Ticktum had started third and made the most of the crash to leap into second ahead of Norris.
He would find it hard to hang on though. Norris was clearly the quicker driver and watched in desperation as Herta drove off down the road. By the time Norris eventually made the overtake stick into turn two, he was over three seconds down with 10 minutes to go.
Herta would allow Norris to catch in the closing laps as he crossed the line to take the win before pulling off to the side, Ticktum would take the final podium place.
But it was a well-worked podium for Ticktum as the other Carlin car of Petru Florescu challenged him intently in the final few laps eventually resulting in the Romanian driver making a bold move, which didn’t stick. He lost the chance to finish fourth and dropped behind on-form Toby Sowery.
This had attracted other drivers into the battle with Matheus Leist holding on for sixth, narrowly ahead of James Pull at the back of the train.
It was an eighth place finish for Ricky Collard who made a great start to work his way back from last on the grid. He loses ground on Norris, but will be happy to collect 4 points as he beats Louise Richardson and Josh Smith, who he made contact with in the closing stages.
This means Norris leads on 325 points, while Collard is the next best on 308. His retirement means Fielding is equal with Ticktum on 260, while winner Herta leaves with 253.