Racing returnee Raoul Hyman showed what the world was missing on his comeback weekend in Formula Regional Americas at NOLA Motorsports Park.
TJ Speed signing Hyman has been out of motorsport during the COVID-19 pandemic, and he immediately took pole on his return but lost the race one lead to Mac Clark just a few second in as the category rookie made a faster start.
Clark initially had his mirrors full, and got his lead out to 1.28 seconds by lap seven before Hyman started closing back in again. By lap 13 of 23 there was just three tenths between the two, but Clark pulled back two tenths of a second.
With three laps to go he had got his lead up to 1.1s, but Hyman pushed hard and finished only 0.26s behind.
The pair’s pushing of each other late on meant they were more than a second per lap faster than everyone else, and third placed Dylan Tavella found himself 25s behind at the finish.
Nico Christodoulou held off late pressure from Jason Alder for fourth.
Hyman managed to conert pole into victory in race two, as Tavella came from fourth on the grid to fight with Clark. The pair’s battle allowed Hyman to slip away, with a four-second gap by the end of the race between the winner and runner-up Tavella.
Taking fastest lap in race two put Hyman on pole for race three as well, but the 2018 FRegional Asia champion was defeated again as he finished third behind first-time winner Tavella and Alder. Clark had a busy battle that prevented him from fighting at the front, and he finished just behind Ryan Yardley in fifth.
After three races there is nothing to split Hyman and Tavella in the standings, with both on 58 points. Clark sits eight points back in third. In total, 13 cars entered the season opener.
Race 1 (23 laps)
1 Mac Clark Future Star Racing 36m33.834s
2 Raoul Hyman TJ Speed +0.260s
3 Dylan Tavella Team Crosslink +25.063s
4 Nico Christodolou Velocity Racing Development +28.165s
5 Jason Alder TJ Speed +28.551s
6 Ryan Yardley Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport+30.762s
7 Nick Persing TJ Speed +33.692s
8 Marco Kacic Doran-Kroll Competition +49.975s
9 Alex Kirby Doran-Kroll Competition +1m08.397s
10 Rodrigo Gutierrez Velocity Racing Development +1m24.086s
Pole: Hyman, 1m32.807s
Fastest lap: Hyman, 1m34.638s
Race 2 (23 laps)
2 Tavella +4.186s
3 Clark +4.917s
4 Persing +19.804s
5 Yardley +20.607s
6 Christodoulou +24.944s
7 Kacic +40.429s
8 Cooper Becklin Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport +45.108s
9 Gutierrez +1m04.352s
10 Kirby +1m20.248s
FL: Hyman, 1m33.523s
Race 3 (21 laps)
1 Tavella 35m50.946s
2 Alder +2.485s
3 Hyman +7.619s
4 Yardley +13.459s
5 Clark +14.033s
6 Persing +31.290s
7 Kacic +36.382s
8 Kirby +37.505s
9 Christodoulou +37.591s
10 Becklin +46.659s
FL: Alder, 1m35.507s
1 Hyman 58 2 Tavella 58 3 Clark 50 4 Yardley 30 5 Alder 28 6 Persing 26 7 Christodoulou 22 8 Kacic 16 9 Kirby 7 10 Becklin 5