Richardson Racing continued to make forward progress in the new MSA Formula series at the weekend as the championship headed to Donington Park for the second event of the season.
The Castle Bytham-based team expanded to field a second car for the first time this year, having signed up single-seater rookie Ollie Pidgley to partner Louise Richardson.
Louise went into the weekend seeking to build on an encouraging season-opener at Brands Hatch, and she qualified in a solid 15th position, little more than a second away from pole.
Having taken 12th place in the opening race of the weekend, Louise then improved to take her best result of the season to date in race two – showing pace comparable with the leaders as she crossed the line in 11th.
But an unfortunate incident early on in race three, when she was forced to take to the grass at the Old Hairpin, resulted in an unscheduled visit to the pits and meant Louise dropped well behind the rest of the field, although she again showed impressive speed en route to 16th spot.
All in all, Louise said it had been a positive weekend. She said: “I’ve shown a step forward in my pace again on track and as a team, we’ve been able to increase our knowledge of working with the car.
“We knew after race one that we had some work to do on set-up, but we made some changes for race two and to finish in P11 was a good result. We were getting stronger as the race went on and if things had come together a little earlier, then I think we could certainly have finished inside the top 10.
“It was a bit disappointing that we couldn’t build on that pace in race three, but when I saw a car spinning in front of me I had no option but to take to the grass. I thought I’d got away with it at first but after the safety car period, the temperatures started to rise and I had to pit to have grass removed from the radiator.
“Despite that, the pace was strong again and I feel confident that we can continue to make progress when we go to Thruxton.”
For Ollie, the weekend was all about putting in as many laps as possible in what was his first race outing at the wheel of a single-seater machine.
A throttle issue in qualifying meant he was forced to start the opening race of the weekend from 21st on the grid but the teenager stayed out of trouble to pick up 16th spot in the opening race.
After taking 17th in race two, Ollie then enjoyed his best run of the weekend in race three as he crossed the line in 14th – achieving his aim of three race finishes from his first weekend on track.
Ollie said: “I’ve now got an idea of where I shape up compared to the rest when it comes to racing and hopefully we can go forwards next time out and start making progress up the order.”