MOTOR RACING: Richardson back on Formula Ford podium at Croft

Andrew Richardson on the podium at Croft. Photo: Jakob Ebrey
Andrew Richardson on the podium at Croft. Photo: Jakob Ebrey
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Castle Bytham-based Andy Richardon secured two more Scholarship class podium finishes as the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain season reached the halfway stage at Croft last weekend.

The 21-year-old went into the weekend seeking to pick up three strong results ahead of the series summer break, with his focus on trying to add to the two overall podiums secured earlier in the campaign at Thruxton.

Andrew Richardson dices with a rival Formula Ford driver at Croft. Photo: Jakob Ebrey

Andrew Richardson dices with a rival Formula Ford driver at Croft. Photo: Jakob Ebrey

Having had the opportunity to conduct a pre-event test to make improvements to his Ford EcoBoost-powered Mygale, Andy posted the fourth quickest time in qualifying around the former airfield venue, putting him in a strong position for the opening race of the weekend.

A solid start saw him make up a place on the opening lap to run third, and he then inherited second when early leader Harrison Scott was handed a drive-through penalty for an infringement at the start.

Pushing hard to keep rival Nico Maranzana at bay, Andy held second until the eighth lap of the race when Maranzana was able to get ahead at the hairpin, with fellow Argentine Juan Rosso following him through a lap later as Andy started to suffer with braking issues.

Despite that, he stayed in touch with Rosso and fought hard to try and reclaim his podium position until the final lap, when an error saw him run wide at the hairpin which led to him being demoted to seventh spot overall and third in the Scholarship class.

With the Richardson Racing team having worked to rectify an issue with the car ahead of race two, Andy took up his position of sixth on the grid in confident mood. When the lights went out, he blasted away from the line but sadly his strong getaway would come to nothing as rival Sam McLeod moved over and clipped the front of his car, leading to contact with Rosso that put Andy out on the spot.

The incident caused heavy damage to the left rear of his car, leaving Andy’s mechanics plenty of work to carry out repairs and prepare the car for the final race of the weekend.

With the expected rain holding off, the race ran in dry conditions with Andy starting from fifth on the grid. Although he ran as high as fourth, a flapping sidepod saw him lose speed on the straights while he also suffered with a lack of rear-end grip and he once again took the flag in seventh overall and third in the Scholarship class.

As a result of the weekend’s results, Andy heads into the summer break sitting eighth in the championship standings and fourth in the Scholarship class.

Andy said: “It wasn’t an easy weekend to finish the first half of the season. After qualifying, we made some changes to the car ahead of the opening race to try an improve the performance and although I ran in the podium positions for a while, I slipped back as I was suffering with the brakes.

“After the race, we also discovered an issue with the car that meant we weren’t able to really see what impact the changes we’d made had had on the car. We fixed those issues for race two, but sadly one of my rivals wasn’t watching his mirrors at the start and tagged me as I got away off the line.

“The boys worked hard to fix the car for race three and we thought it might rain, which would have really suited me. When it was dry, we knew it would be harder and the car didn’t feel quite like it had before.

“While seventh wasn’t what I was hoping for, it’s more points for my championship tally and more experience for me to take forwards into the second half of the year.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to go out and test during the summer break, and then we can come out fighting at Snetterton.”