Scottish FF1600: Martin Takes Control
 April 25, 2018| 
  • Feeder Series
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Feeder Series News

KNOCKHILL, Scotland – The 2018 Scottish Formula Ford Championship started recently at Knockhill Circuit, in Fife. The first Scottish Motor Racing Club event of the season was also the Jim Clark Memorial meeting, remembering the great F1 Champion and Indy 500 winner, who died 50 years ago.

There were two rounds, and each was keenly contested on a sunny day at Scotland’s premier racing circuit. Defending champion Ross Martin (Ray GR17) carried on from where he left off last year by qualifying on pole position ahead of the experienced Jordan Gronkowski (Van Diemen JL012K).

The teenager shot away from the grid and rapidly opened out an appreciable lead over Gronkowski, who remained under pressure from Sebastian Melrose (Ray GR14) until the front row starter retired to the pits with a mechanical problem after just five laps.

As Martin made his escape to finish 9.3seconds clear of Melrose, the attention switched instead to a battle for third place. Gary Sykes held the advantage initially until Neil Broome (Ray GR17) got into his stride, making the pass on Lap Four and then edging away to complete the podium. Matthew Chisholm also found a way past Sykes a lap later to finish fourth.

Martin again led from pole in Race Two with Sebastian Melrose remaining close at around half a second back over the opening four laps.

Broome led a train of four cars battling over third, with Chisholm right on his gearbox, but they were dropping away from the leaders at a second a lap. Gronkowski, meanwhile, was shooting up through the field after starting last. He overtook three cars in the opening two laps to run seventh, and by Lap Four was up to fourth after a good move at the hairpin when he dived past both Sykes and Chisholm.

Gronkowski sat on Broome’s tail on Lap Five, then next time around drove round the outside of Broome in a bold move to take third at the first corner. By now he was six seconds behind Melrose, who had fallen a couple of seconds in arrears of race leader Martin.

There were no more changes at the front as Martin won the race convincingly by 4.6 seconds. He also set a new Formula Ford lap record at 54.058 seconds. Melrose finished securely in second ahead of Gronkowski, while Broome held onto fourth despite non-stop pressure from Chisholm.

The double victory ensured that Martin, for the second year in succession, already is in prime position to earn an invitation to this year’s Mazda Road to Indy $200K USF2000 Scholarship Shootout, which will take place in the United States later this year. The winner of the shootout will be looking to follow in the footsteps of young Irishman Keith Donegan, who claimed last year’s prize and is now competing in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda – the first rung on the Mazda Road to Indy open-wheel development ladder which offers opportunities for drivers to progress all the way from the grassroots of the sport to the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500, with scholarship prizes at every level.
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