Scottish FF: Martin Extends Championship Lead
 May 19, 2018| 
  • Feeder Series
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KNOCKHILL, Scotland – The third and fourth rounds of the SMRC Scottish Formula Ford Championship took place in May at Knockhill Circuit in Fife, albeit with a slight twist. For the first time in several years, the track was run in an anti-clockwise direction, presenting a new challenge for drivers with a downhill run to the first corner, a second-gear hairpin. The grid was boosted by six guest drivers who chose to use the meeting as a test in preparation for the upcoming TCR event which included rounds of the British Formula Ford Championship.

The Scottish Championship racers were competing for the prestigious prize of an invitation to the Mazda Road to Indy USF000 $200,000 Scholarship Shootout, the winner of which will claim a $200,000 award to compete in the 2019 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda – the first rung on the Mazda Road to Indy open-wheel development ladder – in the United States.

In the first of two races, defending champion teenager Ross Martin led from pole, pressed hard by guest driver Matt Round-Garrido. They ran nose to tail for 10 laps before another guest, Hugo Bentley-Ellis, grabbed second after Round-Garrido slid wide at the hairpin. Ross Martin managed to grab a half-second lead with a lap to go, and held that gap until the flag.

Michael Eastwell claimed fourth after holding onto the top three until Lap 11, when he dropped back a few car lengths. Rory Smith ran fifth, nearly 1.5 seconds back, as he held off a late challenge from the recovering Sebastian Melrose, who finished second among the Scottish Championship regulars. Melrose had run as high as third until Lap Four when he ran wide at the hairpin. He was two seconds behind Smith for much of the race, until a late charge closed the gap to 0.3 of a second. Jordan Gronkowski finished seventh and third Scottish racer, having moved up from 12th on the grid.

Race Two saw Martin led until Lap Four, when Round-Garrido dived past then slowly eased away to win by just over a second. The race was stopped on Lap 10 (and results published after nine laps) when a car was beached on the curbs at the hairpin and judged to be in a dangerous position.

Martin held off a strong challenge from Bentley-Ellis for third. He was followed home by Melrose who had made a fine start to make up three places on the run down to the first corner before losing out to Bentley-Ellis on Lap Three. Melrose remained a second clear of the spirited battle for fifth, with Smith edging out Eastwell by just a tenth of a second. Gronkowski was again third among the Scottish runners, seventh on the road.

Scottish FF Championship Points after 4 rounds:
1. Ross Martin, 103; 2. Sebastian Melrose, 81; 3. Jordan Gronkowski, 48; 4. Neil Broome, 47.
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