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QFFC Round 2 Report: Queensland Raceway, 19-21 April 2024

Action aplenty as Qld Raceway turns on the show... then the rain arrived!

Lachlan Evennett leads Liam Loiacono in Duratec. FF1600 leader Tim Hamilton ahead of Dylan Fahey, Jeremy Mattea, Jerry Van de Pol, Wes Young and Michael Gillespie.

---------- Friday Practice ----------

AJ Gealy and Greg Fahey Motorsport had a shocking run, starting with niggles during Friday practice but coming to a full stop at the end of Qualifying with no drive. After much investigation a clutch plate issue became apparent, but in an unfortunate stroke of bad luck and despite there being plenty of spare clutch plates across different teams, of the two different splines on Kent clutch plates the GFM RF04K happened to use the one that was different to everyone else. AJ will be back to make amends, but his Round 2 came to a DNS.

Matt Dicinoski was a scratching in the lead up to the race, the main culprit being a bladder tank that didn’t want to perform like a tank any longer. After having a good test day in the weeks prior things were looking good for Round 2, but now we will have to wait until Round 3 in June to see the Van Diemen RF06 back in action.

---------- Race 1 ----------

Highlights included the race long battle between Lachlan Evennett and Liam Loiacono. After swapping places throughout, it came down to a last lap Lockie and Liam side-by-side entry into Turn 4 which had Evennett performing a bold hold on around the outside through to the exit of Turn 5. Lockie held the upper hand on exit and then resisted another attack at Turn 6 to come out in front.

The FF1600 race was even bigger.

Running three wide down the main straight and into Turn 1 it was a battle between Hamilton, Fahey and Mattea.

At one point while in third Dylan Fahey had had enough and sent a huge braking manoeuvre into Turn 4 to pass both Mattea who was at the time leading, and Hamilton.

Ultimately Hamilton forged his way to the front and took the FF1600 win in a Kent car battle royale.

There was literally too much to cover... another great combined Formula Ford and Formula Ford 1600 race.

---------- Race 2 ----------

Liam Loiacono repaid the favour to his teammate Lachlan Evennett from Race 1 and came out in front at the line, by a whole zero point 1260 of a second...

In the hotly contested Formula Ford 1600s it was Tim Hamilton in the TYREPLUS Burleigh Heads Spectrum 010b that came through for victory, adding to the Race 1 win. He was far from having the weekend all his own way, but still managed to get to the front by the end.

Dylan Fahey on the damp but drying track pushed the DYFA Group Van Diemen RF89 up to within half a second of Hamilton after 10 laps and recorded a better faster lap, so the battle was set to continue when racing resumed on Sunday.

---------- Race 3 ----------

The race became one of intensity, starting dry but gradually the mist of rain started and then increased.

Loiacono held a handy advantage over Evennett thanks to ducking through the Sports Car traffic a little faster to take the Formula Ford win, but also started chasing down Sports Cars as the conditions turned.

Formula Ford 1600 had Mattea storming through the field under brakes and worked his way into the lead, Fahey right on him in close company.

A spin on the exit of Turn 5 as the damp arrived had Mattea out of the lead and backwards, with the field scrambling again and Fahey coming off the worst with a jump off road to avoid.

This left Hamilton in the lead but with an aggressive Wes Young searching for a place to pass. The dice quickly had an equally on fire Jerry Van de Pol join in, and after a great tussle gained the place from Young.

Hamilton and Van de Pol then started to clear a gap on a now challenging damp track, while Young had the return of Dylan Fahey looming in his mirrors, all the while Mattea was throwing everything at the conditions and gaining ground in the recovery from his spin.

Van de Pol had his car sideways pushing out of corners but would have to settle for second FF1600 to Hamilton who notched up another win.

Fahey would end up parked on a crossover road with a failed battery, while Mattea would claim third after a spirited battle with Young, who himself had a spin on the last corner of the race but due to the spread between packs in the slippery conditions he was quickly around and across the finish line to take 4th place for FF1600.

---------- Race 4 ----------

Drivers were suiting up for the final race getting ready for some wet track action, when advice came through that there was a minute-by-minute schedule for the event that wasn’t made available and the scheduled lunch break was a mega break, with another hour remaining.

As the drivers were waiting and track conditions were being inspected by teams, the rain intensified.

After all the teams and drivers gathered, it was decided that Race 4 would not be contested by anyone even though the opportunity was there for people to head out if they so desired. The reality of the track conditions verse 510kg car and driver vehicles with no downforce would have meant a pure lottery and a lot of risk of torn up vehicles.

While the teams were packing up, the event organisers reached the conclusion that the track had become undrivable, and so the 4th round of racing was abandoned for every category anyway.

---------- Wrap up ----------

The pouring rain drowned out our cameras and made the surrounds wet and gloomy, but the full family of Queensland Formula Ford gathered to congratulate each other for a great weekend of intense racing and for leaving with straight cars and no contact.

Liam Loiacono trumped Lachlan Evennett in the race for the Round 2 Formula Ford first place. Both drivers having gained more experience before heading to the next important step in their year at Winton for Australian Formula Ford Series Round 2.

Jeremy Mattea made clear gains with his driving and car setup since Round 1 and despite being the first one on the scene as the rain fell and having to do a recovery drive from a spin to the back of the field pulled in enough points to take home third place in Formula Ford 1600.

Jerry Van de Pol with his great drives in damp and wet conditions, combined with good pace overall, secured second in FF1600.

Victory for the Kent-powered Formula Ford 1600s would go to Tim Hamiton though, extending his lead over Mattea in the FF1600 Championship.

FF1600 battle royale! Jeremy Mattea heads the field in the damp conditions of Race 3. Dylan Fahey (#80), Tim Hamilton (#87), Wes Young (#9) and Jerry Van de Pol (#25) chase.

Race Report by Tony Chapman


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