Brands Hatch, Kent, UK – Sunday 30 March, 2014
Sam Brabham Scores First 2014 Formula Ford Podium
Sam Brabham opened his Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship campaign with his first podium of the 2014 season at Brands Hatch, Kent, today, thanks to a gutsy passing move on Harrison Scott to secure third in the closing stages of round three.
The 19 year-old from Sibford Ferris, Oxfordshire, overcame an otherwise challenging weekend. Despite topping the timesheets in first official practice and qualifying fourth, contact took him out of the running for third with just five minutes remaining of Saturday’s first round battle.
Thanks to a fantastic effort from double reigning Formula Ford Champions, team JTR, to repair the resulting right rear damage, Brabham was just able to make race two on Saturday afternoon. Starting from the pit lane, a sterling drive to catch the field and take six places to finish ninth ensured his first championship points of the season.
Lining up sixth on the grid for the third and final 20-minute race, a strong start enabled Brabham to take Ricky Collard for fifth going into Druids for the first time. A gripping four-way battle for third soon developed, with JTR teammate Max Marshall, Juan Rosso, Brabham and Collard each separated by two tenths of a second by lap nine.
When Rosso made a move on Marshall exiting Clearways on lap 12, Brabham immediately followed suit to take fourth heading down the Brabham Straight, named after his triple Formula 1 World Champion grandfather, Sir Jack.
Although racing was temporarily suspended with a four-lap safety car, due Marshall and Collard clashing at Druids the same lap, Brabham was back on a charge at the restart on lap 17. With Harrison Scott is his sights, Brabham pounced at the first opportunity exiting Paddock Hill Bend on lap 18, committing up the inside and on the grass he skillfully completed the pass into Druids.
Remaining unchallenged for the final five minutes, Brabham secured valuable championship points for a comfortable third place finish. “It’s been a bit of a tough first race weekend, but I’m delighted it all came good and we ended up where we deserved to be,” said Brabham.
“Testing went really well on Friday, with first and third by one hundredth of a second. I was battling understeer in qualifying and the first race, but I got a good start and defended well. Jack [Barlow] just managed to find a way past, then the next thing I know I’m in the air, my car is wrecked and my race is over. I was pretty fuming.
“JTR have been amazing again this weekend and we got the car finished with seconds to spare for race two. We had the pace but it was hard to gain much more ground. I knew the restart in race three was my chance to get up the field and it means a lot to get my first podium on the Brabham Straight at Brands Hatch.”
With 27 rounds across nine events remaining, Brabham lies ninth in the title standings as he heads into the second event of the season at Donington Park, 19/20 April.
For full race results visit www.britishformulaford.co.uk
Images © Jakob Ebrey www.jakobebrey.com