Roman Bilinski rounded out the first round of the 2024 Formula Regional Oceania season with a second victory at Taupo.
Christian Mansell led for much of the 23-lap race three, but Bilinski found a way through with four laps to go to take the lead and victory.
Mansell, who qualified on pole but received a penalty for an incident in race two, made a strong start from fifth on the grid to move into second by the end of the first lap. He was close behind Liam Sceats, who started second, as pole-sitter Alex Crosbie dropped back to fourth.
Sceats and Mansell began to pull away from Bilinski in third, but they soon started to battle for position. Bilinski was able to reel them in again.
Mansell swept past Sceats with on lap four, leaving Sceats to battle with Bilinski. Sceats defended well, but Bilinski eventually found a way past his M2 Competition team-mate and started to chase down Mansell.
By this point, Mansell was 1.7 seconds ahead of Bilinski, but Bilinski put in flying laps to close back in on the race leader. He kept the pressure on Mansell, but was not immediately able to find a way past. It would not be until lap 19 that he would finally come through to take the lead.
Mansell stuck with Bilinski after that, but couldn’t find a way back past and had to settle for second, 0.552s behind.
Sceats picked up third, a further 0.707s back, while Crosbie ended a lonely race in fourth.
Unlike races one and two, it was relatively incident-free. There were a few excursions over the grass, but only one led to a retirement. That was Landen Matriano Lim, who came to a stop partially off track with two laps remaining. Despite his car being sideways and partially on the track, the race resumed with waved yellow flags in place there for the final lap.
Michael Shin made up two positions on the opening lap to move up to fifth and remained there until the chequered flag, ahead of Nico Lacorte and Kaleb Ngatoa.
Gerrard Xie and Patrick Woods-Toth spent the first half of the race battling over eighth, before being joined by Titus Sherlock who came through to take the position. Woods-Toth finished ninth, and Xie dropped back to 11th.
Race result (23 laps)
|Landan Matriano Lim
|Fastest lap: Mansell, 1m25.609s