Double R Racing driver Carrie Schreiner made a good start to her MSA Formula career with three strong finishes in the championship opener at Brands Hatch. Schreiner competed in German Formula 4 last year and will continue in the series alongside her limited outings in the UK. After showing immense consistency in both practice and qualifying, Carrie finished all three races in 15th position after some hard battling in changeable conditions.
Eager to make a positive start to the weekend, Carrie took part in the two official test sessions on Friday. With glorious weather gracing the Brands Hatch circuit, Schreiner took to the track for the first session looking to set competitive lap times. She improved her time throughout the 45 minute test, setting the 15th quickest time. However, with less than ninth tenths of a second covering the top-19 drivers, one brilliant lap could make all the difference in terms of grid positions. The second session took place later in the day with warmer track temperatures assisting the drivers. Determined to improve on her time from the morning, Carrie took to the track early on and laid down a competitive benchmark time. Completing a total of 45 laps during the 45 minute session, Schreiner was 18th fastest but made solid gains from the first session.
Qualifying was held early on Saturday morning with dry and sunny conditions enabling drivers to improve on their times from testing. With some fast early lap times, Schreiner found herself inside the top-12 for the majority of the session as she bettered her quickest time set in Friday testing. At the end of the 20 minute session, Carrie was 14th fastest but her impeccable consistency enabled her to set a second fastest lap time within two hundredths of her best, meaning she lined up 12th for the third race of the weekend.
Race one of the weekend took place later in the afternoon with perfect racing conditions ahead of Carrie’s debut in the MSA Formula Championship. Starting from the seventh row of the grid, Schreiner made a good start but was squeezed out by Harry Hayek on the opening lap which dropped her to 15th. Danish driver Nicolai Kjaergaard also found his way past on lap two with Carrie struggling slightly with tyre warmup. Nevertheless, she fought back well and continued to improve her lap times, closing in on the drivers in front as the race approached halfway. A safety car halted proceedings on lap 17 with Carrie moving up into 15th at the expensive of the retired Ross Martin. With MSA Formula races limited to 20 minutes, just one lap remained as the racing got underway with Schreiner doing a great job to hold on in 15th.
Changeable conditions leading up to the second race of the day brought great drama with all drivers starting on slicks with rain approaching. Starting from 15th as a result of her finish in race one, Carrie made a good start to hold her position on the opening lap, avoiding multiple incidents ahead of her. Schreiner closed in on Patrik Matthiesen and was lining up for an overtake before the red flag was thrown at the end of lap eight due to an incident involving race one winner Petru Florescu. Due to the ever deteriorating conditions, all teams fitted wet tyres for the 8 minute restart with Carrie lining up in 15th. Despite having extremely strong pace during the closing stages, Schreiner was unable to gain any places with overtaking proving increasingly difficult, but it was still a great drive which filled her with optimism heading into the third race on Sunday.
With the final MSA Formula race of the weekend taking place on Sunday afternoon, the track was dry heading into the finale. Courtesy of her brilliant consistency in qualifying, Schreiner lined up on the sixth row of the grid alongside Ross Martin. Carrie made a good start and held her position during the first lap before moving up to 11th by the end of lap two, within touching distance of her first points. On lap nine, however, Harry Hayek made his way past and this allowed three further drivers to take advantage pushing Schreiner down to 15th. Nonetheless, Carrie found her rhythm and started to close in on Jamie Caroline ahead of her whilst doing a good job to keep rookie Nicolai Kjaergaard behind. Even with some superb lap times towards the end of the 26 lap encounter, Schreiner was unable to make further progress and finished her third consecutive race in 15th.
Carrie should be extremely encouraged by her pace in her first ever weekend racing in the MSA Formula Championship. The extremely competitive nature of the series, coupled with the tough Brands Hatch layout, made it difficult to overtake but Schreiner’s defensive driving was highly commendable throughout. With a hectic schedule during the course of the year, Carrie’s next racing engagement will be to take part in the German F4 official test day at Oschersleben next week in preparation for the opening round in two weeks’ time. Schreiner’s next outing with Double R Racing will be at Thruxton in a little over a month as she tackles the high speed Hampshire circuit seeking her first points of the season.