Hillyer clinches Formula Ford title with a round to go
Sunday 24th September, 2023 - 6:13pm
Walkinshaw Andretti United junior development driver Matt Hillyer capped off a perfect sixth round of the Australian Formula Ford Series at Phillip Island with three wins to clinch the title with a round to go.
It was also a splendid weekend for Sonic Motor Racing, a trifecta overall result as their Mygales with Conor Somers and Jake Santalucia at the helms, filled out the podium places.
After Saturday’s opener, Race 2 was another one-two-three for Sonic with Hillyer the winner ahead of Santalucia and Somers. Together with Zak Lobko (Mygale), the four had established a break on the rest through the course of the seven-lap outing.
Towards the end, the latter had a shot of winning when he went deep under brakes at Turn 4 and into the lead. But he ran wide on the exit and resumed in fourth position. The move checked up Hillyer and allowed Santalucia through. But as he had done several times previously, Hillyer regained the lead to win.
Harrison Sellars (Altatek Racing Spectrum) was initially fourth before he became involved in a four-way scrap for fifth. He was the leader of that scrap for several laps before Xavier Kokai took fifth. Just behind Sellars came Will Lowing and Joe Fawcett with a gap to Damon Woods who was just in front of Tom Davies, Cody Maynes-Rutty, Jack Bussey, Lachlan Strictland, and Matt Holmes.
There was a delayed start to Race 3 after Conor Nicholson and Mark Zellner came together between Turns 3 and 4 on the out lap. It would mean a shortened race as all Victorian State Race Series races are time certain. It was further reduced when James Crozier’s Spectrum didn’t move at the start and the Safety Car was necessitated.
Hillyer headed the train when the race went green again, but Santalucia took the lead away before the lap’s completion. He was just in front of Hillyer, Somers, Lobko, Kokai, Sellars, Lowering and Davies.
Shortly after Kokai spun at MG and Sellars was delayed. Then Hillyer regained the lead while Santalucia dropped to fourth behind Somers and Lobko and survived a moment at Turn 1 late in the race hold position.
Fifth went to Eddy Beswick (Synergy Motorsport Spectrum) who started the first two races from pitlane and Race 3 from 21st. He headed a freight train where Wood was next in front of Bussey, Davies, Sellars, Fawcett, Strickland, and Kobi Williams from the rear. After contact with Davies at Turn 2, Will Lowing had further drama late when he tangled with Holmes.
In the Kent class, James Meaden (Van Diemen RF96) edged out Richard Davison (RF95) with Peter Fitzgerald (Spectrum) third before the latter pipped Davison in Race 3. Frank Harris was third while Meaden was a non-finisher.