Can Anyone Stop Roman’s Reign?
As the 2024 Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship heads to Hampton Downs Motorsport Park for its third weekend, the question is who, if anyone can stop the Polish steamroller that is Roman Bilinski.
The M2 Competition driver has been the top performer in the first two rounds and despite a hiccup in Manfeild’s second race where his rain light failed and left him at the back after a pit stop, he still leads the championship with four wins from six races. He has won in the dry and in the wet and is now a firm championship favourite.
Behind him there is a fantastic battle to challenge him for series honours. With Christian Mansell heading off for FIA F3 testing and taking the two round Tasman Cup as his consolation prize, the best of the rest behind are led by the top two Kiwis in the NZ based Championship – M2 Competition’s Liam Sceats and Giles Motorsport’s Kaleb Ngatoa.
Both can be expected to be at the sharp end of the grid for Hampton Downs – a circuit both know incredibly well.
Australian Tommy Smith is getting closer and closer to the front on his return to the championship for the first time since 2019. Hampton Downs will be the mtec Motorsport driver’s last round as he focuses on Europe after that, but he could well be a dark horse for the weekend.
Another dark horse this weekend could be Alpine F1 junior Nico Lacorte. Impressive and fast at the second round at Manfeild - Circuit Chris Amon over last weekend, he too will be appearing for the third and final time this season and will be aiming to go out on a high.
Also in the mix are New Zealand’s Alex Crosbie and Canadian Patrick Woods-Toth. Kiwi Crosbie was strong at the first round but couldn’t match that form at Manfeild. A frustrating opening weekend for Kiwi Motorsport’s Woods-Toth cost him vital championship points, but he was much stronger at Manfeild. Both should be comfortably on the pace at round three and will be looking to re-ignite their championship challenges.
China’s Gerrard Xie, South Korean Michael Shin and USA racer Titus Sherlock are all also capable of springing a surprise and shouldn’t be ruled out for a big weekend at round three. Elliott Cleary has also impressed, running and finishing in the top ten regularly.
In essence, with a gap across the entire field of around one second, the opportunity is for anyone to shine around the full international circuit layout this coming weekend and any name could be added to those iconic drivers already on the Dorothy Smith Memorial Trophy.
2024 Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship certified by FIA – Points after R2
|2024 DRIVER STANDINGS
|Alex Crosbie ®
|Patrick Woods-Toth ®
|Nicola Lacorte ®
|Titus Sherlock ®
|Elliott Cleary ®
|Jett Bowling ®
|Kaden Probst ®
|Landan Matriano Lim ®
|Jake Bonilla ®
2024 Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship certified by FIA - Events
19-21 January 2024 - Taupo International Motorsport Park – Historic GP event
26-28 January 2024 - Manfeild - Circuit Chris Amon
2-4 February 2024 - Hampton Downs Motorsport Park
9-11 February 2024 – Euromarque Motorsport Park
16-18 February 2024 - Highlands Motorsport Park – 68th New Zealand Grand Prix