Hillyer closes on Formula Ford title with race win

Matt Hilllyer battled his Sonic Racing team-mate Jake Santalucia to win Race 1 of the Australian Formula Ford Series at Phillip Island. Image: Formula Ford/Phil Wisewould

Australian Formula Ford Series points leader Matt Hillyer overcame his Mygale team-mates Jake Santalucia and Connor Somers to win the opening race of Round 6 at Phillip Island and score a one-two-three for Sonic Motor Racing.

Hillyer’s bid to put the series to bed started with qualifying on pole, his third for the season. He outpointed Altatek’s Harrison Sellars by 0.13s with Damon Woods (Spectrum) third ahead of Santalucia, Jack Bussey (Spectrum), second in the series Zak Lobko (Colin Hill Engineering Mygale), Kodi Williams (Spectrum), Will Lowing (Mygale) and Matt Holmes (Spectrum).

In the 10-lap race Hillyer led after the start with Santalucia in second, and the lead on Lap 2. Several times they exchanged the front running before Hillyer took the win by 0.07s. Sellars was third early before being displaced by Somers who shadowed his team-mates to the end.

“It was an epic race; the tow was obviously massive. Heaps of switching around with my team-mate Jake,” Hillyer said.

Sellars finished fourth almost 5s in arrears but in what was, at times, a seven-car stoush to see who was best of the rest outside the top three. Sellars also lost out to his team-mate Williams until mid-distance where he secured fourth.

Lobko was behind them when he had a spin at Turn 4. He only lost a couple of places and managed to regain them by the end. He finished ahead of Woods and Bailey Collins, who was another to recover from a spin. His came at Turn 12 and he placed ahead of Victorian State Championship leader Joe Fawcett (Spectrum).

Bussey finished tenth in front of Lowing and Xavier Kokai (Spectrum). Thirteenth-placed Eddie Beswick (Spectrum) qualified 14th but had to start the race from pit lane – a penalty for an incident at the previous Sandown round. He finished in front of Lachlan Strickland (Mygale) who was 22nd on the first lap. Cody Maynes-Rutty was a Lap 3 casualty due to contact with Tom Davies that broke the rear suspension.

Richard Davison (Van Diemen) qualified fastest among the older Kent engine cars and took the race honours clear of James Meaden (Van Diemen) who was pursued by Mark Zellner (Mygale) and Peter Fitzgerald (Spectrum).

There will be two more races on Sunday before the final round at The Bend in October at the Shannons Trophy Series.

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