Round 2 of the 2018 Australian Formula Ford Championship saw varied track conditions over the weekend at Queensland Raceway. The "paperclip" proved again that its simple layout can produce some truly spectacular Formula Ford racing.
Hamish Ribarits left the weekend with a controlled round win, confirming his Winton pace at Round 1 was no accident. The Victorian driver claimed pole and a pair of race wins, taking his maiden round win in the National Championship, at a circuit he has not raced on before. To make things even sweeter, he claimed wins in both wet and dry conditions.
"I hadn’t seen the track before Friday, it’s my first time here so to get my first pole, race win and round win at a National level here is amazing" said an enthused Ribarits.
Ribarits had speed all weekend, showing maturity and patience at an unknown race track. The Sonic Motor Racing driver also won the Shell Award for setting pole position earlier on Saturday.
Thanks to his performance in Ipswich, Ribarits is now leading the 2018 Australian Formula Ford Championship, equal on points with team-mate Hunter McElrea. Despite his strong Championship position, Ribarits is still realistic about how hard and competitive this field is: "Formula Ford is where the best drivers are at, that’s where you get pushed the most as a driver. My goal is still to get a top three finish in the championship. Coming into this year, I thought it was a realistic goal, and so far the hard work seems to be paying off."
McElrea finished second for the round, losing valuable points due to a post-race penalty at the end of Race 3. The Queenslander was rapid, grabbing a win in race 2 and fighting at the front all weekend. Nathan Herne also found himself up the front, in fact leading briefly prior to a big incident at turn 1. Keep an eye on Herne this year as his pace continues to improve.
This weekend's round also saw another young star rise towards the front of the grid - Zac Soutar. Soutar is the fastest privateer in the field and he finished third for the round, claiming his best race finish and maiden round podium at a National level. Soutar is now sitting fourth in the Championship standings, only two points behind Liam McLellan.
Sydney-based driver Jake Donaldson was awarded with the CHI - Cylinder Head Innovations Hard Charger Award for the round, continually moving forward in each race.
This weekend the 2018 Australian Formula Ford Championship welcomed another quick rookie to the field, as 2018 New Zealand Formula Ford Champion, Callum Hedge, joined the field in a Spectrum 014. Hedge finished in the top ten for the round, a solid result considering the depth of competition this season.
Round 3 of the 2018 Australian Formula Ford Championship will be held at Wakefield Park on May 25th -27th.