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Apr 22, 2014 - 04:59 PM
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Victory For Falcon At Donington And Scholarship Class Lead In Formula Ford
Posted by: newsla on Apr 22, 2014 - 04:58 PM
Support Series News
Victory For Falcon At Donington And Scholarship Class Lead In Formula Ford


Falcon Motorsport’s fortune changed like the weather during the second race weekend of the 2014 Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain at Donington Park. The team welcomed its first race win of the season with Harrison Scott and its rise to the top of the Scholarship Class leader board with Chris Mealin whilst overcoming mechanical issues and on-track incidents for Ricky Collard.

 

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Essex born Harrison Scott ended the test day on Thursday on top of the timesheets once again with a 1:06.275 seconds lap. Ricky Collard, from Eversley, Hampshire, was the leading Scholarship Class runner (1:06.741) and ended the day in P6, half a second faster than team-mate Chris Mealin, from Braddan on the Isle of Man, who set a 1:07.443 to sit in P8.

Scott shared the pole position honours with Championship leader Jayde Kruger (JTR) after a closely fought qualifying session on Saturday morning. Setting the third fastest lap time (1:05.954) cemented his starting position for race one, whilst his second-fastest time was the best of the field, ensuring pole position for the weekend finale.

Mealin qualified in P8 for both race one and three grids, whilst team mate Collard was unable to set a timed lap due to his Mygale’s throttle cable snapping on its out lap.

There were hard fought battles throughout grid during race one in the afternoon. The safety car was deployed on lap five following a tap by Juan Rosso on Collard causing him to spin and stop at the chicane. After the restart three laps later, Scott held on to third place until the chequered flag, his third podium finish in four races, unable to muster enough from his Falcon Mygale to take the fight to Kruger and Sam Brabham on this occasion, who took the top two spots on the podium.

Mealin was eighth and took second in the Scholarship class to move in to the points lead for the first time this season.

An early morning downpour brought tricky racing conditions to the iconic Leicestershire track on Sunday morning. Although the rain had stopped by the start of race two, incorrect car set-ups proved to be a decisive factor for many drivers during the race. Scott however, who started from P4, made it all look easy. Despite starting in fourth due to the reverse starting grid, he was soon up to third when Kruger faltered. Two laps later, through the Craner curves, Scott demonstrated his improving race craft with a pass on Max Marshall for second. By the end of lap five Rosso’s lead over Scott was 4.0 seconds, but within a lap the gap had been halved and Scott was soon able to deftly take the race lead, setting the fastest lap of the race along the way and taking his maiden win of 2014 by an impressive 4.5 seconds.

"I was boxed in at the start, but that made it an interesting race! I knew I had pace in the car to make passes stick on the leaders and I got by relatively easily. Fair play to the other drivers who gave me room and drove a safe race," said 18 year old Scott. "The track was really greasy and getting worse as the race went on, but things couldn’t have been much better for me and I am over the moon to finally get that win and especially by such a big margin."

Collard and Mealin both suffered gearbox issues and struggled home in ninth and 10th respectively; but with that Collard took the third placed trophy in the Scholarship Class and collected his fourth Dunlop ‘yellow cap’ out of five races.

With three different leaders and plenty of action, the final race of the Donington Park weekend provided 20 minutes of thrills and spills on Sunday afternoon. Scott started from pole, but Brabham got the better start to take the lead into turn one.

Scott retook the lead after Brabham made an error at the Old Hairpin, and put his pedal to the metal to clock up half a between himself and second placed Kruger and set another fastest lap of the race. But in a cruel twist of fate on lap eight, smoke started puffing out of the back of Scott’s car, indicating a terminal issue and the end of his race.

Team mates Mealin (20 years old) and Collard (17) were very much in podium position contention whilst vying for the Scholarship class lead. However, when Collard tried to make a move on Mealin down the inside at Redgate, but contact put Collard out of the race.

"I have learnt how to deal with disappointing situations this weekend!" said Collard. "The positive is that we were very fast and we had the potential. The ‘Collard race start’ is in the genes! The car was quick, I made good starts, set fastest laps and took the races to the field. Mechanical ‘luck’ was not on my side this weekend and I was maybe on to get a podium finish in the last race as well, but that’s a different team issue. The guys worked extremely hard this weekend, I want to thank everyone at Falcon who put in so much effort for me and I am sorry that it didn’t go our way. Next time."

Mealin had held the class lead from the start, and rose to third overall for a short stint after the demise of the leaders, but slipped back after a couple of errors to cross the finish line P6 overall and third in class, but with enough points to secure the Scholarship Class lead at the end of the event.

"I got a good start, made up a few places off the line and kept my cool when I saw Brabham go off after the Old Hairpin," added Mealin. "I then saw my team mate, Harrison, retire and suddenly saw Ricky on my tail and knew I had a race on my hands. He gave me a nudge on the rear on the back straight at the final chicane, and I thought there was still at least a car length gap between us going in to turn one, but we made contact. That’s car racing I guess and the consolation is that we held on to a Scholarship podium for the team."

Nick Streatfield, team owner, Falcon Motorsport concluded: "Overall, we can say that we had a good weekend. We were competitive, we were on pole for the last race, we had our drivers on the podium at various times during the meeting and we had a strong win on Sunday morning. Both Chris and Ricky drove well from bad positions and just had a few mechanical issues that held them back; and then also an unfortunate coming together in the last race. We had an oil issue with Harrison’s car and we are obviously extremely disappointed that from pulling away out in front we lost another win. But overall, we are pleased with our pace and know that we are going to be bouncing back. It’s a long season, so on to Thruxton."

The next rounds of the 2014 Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain take place on 3/4 May at Thruxton Circuit, Hampshire.

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