Scottish FF1600: Maclennan Clinches MRTI Shootout Berth
 September 19, 2016| 
  • Feeder Series
Highland charger secures Beatson's FF1600 crown with one round to spare


– A perfect weekend at the recent David Leslie Memorial race meeting at Knockhill enabled Graham Brunton Racing’s Neil Maclennan to wrap up the Beatson's Scottish Formula Ford 1600 Championship – and an entry into the Mazda Road to Indy $200K Scholarship Shootout in December – with one race weekend remaining. Maclennan, 18, who hails from the far north of Scotland, continued his magnificent form by claiming all three poles, wins and fastest race laps.

Title rival Jamie Thorburn had a mixed weekend. He displayed good speed in testing but was caught out by an oil spillage in qualifying and was disappointed to manage no better than second-place finishes.

Thorburn did manage to take the lead on the opening lap of the first race of the weekend, but Maclennan quickly made amends before edging away to score yet another victory.

Maclennan took off into the lead from the drop of the green flag in Race Two and was never headed. Thorburn again proved to be his closest challenger, at least until a braking issue caused him to run of the road and out of the race.

“We have the pace now to take the race to Neil,” said Thorburn. “It’s a shame it's taken me this long to feel comfortable and confident enough to use the brakes like I know I should be. I was very happy with how testing went but having the brake fault appear again in Race Two meant I had nowhere to go but the gravel trap unfortunately.”

Obliged to start last on the grid for the final race, Thorburn charged past five rivals on the opening lap to latch onto the tail of a five-car train battling for third place. Thorburn continued his charge, and moved through into second with four laps remaining when Graham Brunton Racing teammate Seb Melrose sportingly moved over to allow Thorburn to chase after the leader. Maclennan, though, was already eight seconds to the good, and Thorburn once more had to settle for second. His consolation came with confirmation that he had clinched the newcomers title with one race remaining.

Maclennan’s weekend sweep took his tally of consecutive race wins at Knockhill to 12.

“I feel so happy to win the title and having the chance to enter the shootout with Mazda Road Indy is amazing – such a huge opportunity,” said Maclennan, who had finished in the 2015 title-chase. “I’ve developed through junior level single-seat racing and this is a great crack at the big time higher level racing. I can't wait to give it my all in December! I must thank the team for the car being so fast, reliable and strong throughout the season and my sponsors for the much needed support all the way this season. Without key inputs at times it wouldn’t have been possible.”

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