Roman Bilinski dominated the opening race of the 2024 Formula Regional Oceania season at Taupo.
The M2 Competition driver took the lead off the line and was in front for all 18 laps of the race to claim his first win at the Formula Regional level.
Bilinski got a good start to take the lead from poleman Christian Mansell, who remained on his tail.
Further back in the order, there was an incident after Nicola Lacrote failed to get away off the line. Starting directly behind him on track, Landan Matriano Lim had to move quickly to avoid the stationary car. While he managed to do so, a car further back clipped Lim’s rear wheel and he was sent into a spin. Lim was able to continue and, after a brief trip to the pits, completed the race.
Lacorte managed to get going, only to stop on track and lead to the safety car being called out.
Bilinski and Mansell continued their battle as soon as racing resumed a few laps later. Mansell managed to get his nose ahead at one point, but Bilinski held on to retain the race lead.
For a few laps, Mansell continued to push hard, but Bilisnki soon picked up the pace. He set the fastest lap of the race as he extended his lead over Mansell. After a trouble-free run, he finished 6.131 seconds clear to take victory.
Mansell finished second, comfortably ahead of Michael Shin in third.
After the restart, Shin had Kaleb Ngatoa to contend with. Ngatoa pushed hard, but Shin’s defence held up the pair and allowed Liam Sceats to join the battle.
The three continued running nose-to-tail for much of the race, but Shin was later able to break away to finish 1.618s clear of Ngatoa. Ngatoa held onto fourth from Sceats, with Gerrard Xie in sixth.
Tommy Smith made a good start to jump up to seventh before the safety car came out, passing Alex Crosbie, Lucas Fecury and Kaden Probst. He maintained the position to the chequered flag ahead of Crosbie and Fecury. Probst span on the final lap, dropping him down the order to 13th.
Race result (18 laps)
|Landan Matriano Lim
|Fastest lap: Bilinski, 1m24.744s