Home Formula FordNational FF1600 Lucas Romanek moves into National FF1600 lead at Snetterton

Lucas Romanek moves into National FF1600 lead at Snetterton

by Ida Wood

Photo: Ida Wood

Oldfield Motorsport’s Lucas Romanek moved into the BRSCC National Formula Ford 1600 points lead in round two of the season at Snetterton.

Chris Middlehurst used his experience to top qualifying by 0.319 seconds in his Van Diemen LA10, with Team Dolan team-mate Jordan Kelly joining him on the race one front row in a Van Diemen RF06.

Romanek prevented a Dolan lockout of the top three by qualifying third, with Morgan Quinn 0.701s back in fourth. Championship leader Brandon McCaughan could only make it into seventh place, 0.996s off the pace.

Middlehurst made a strong getaway from race one pole and held off a fast-starting Romanek into the opening corner. Kelly tried coming back at Romanek at the Montreal hairpin, then reclaimed second at Brundle.

Kelly was then able to sit in Middlehurst’s slipstream through the next two laps before diving down the inside of Middlehurst at the first corner on lap four. Middlehurst reclaimed the lead down the Bentley Straight before Brundle, with their battle bringing fifth and sixth into the lead group.

McCaughan had got up to fifth on lap one but dropped back behind Ammonite Motorsport’s Elliott Budzinski and Nolan Allaer, although the latter only briefly as he then spent the next laps stuck right on Budzinski’s gearbox after Budzinski tried passing Quinn at turn one on lap five.

Kelly remained within 0.2s of Middlehurst until lap seven, however despite the lead growing to 0.249s he was close enough to Middlehurst to overtake him around the outside of Brundle. But at Nelson, the next corner, he ran two wide and once his rear wheels hit the dirt he spun around and across the track.

Amazingly, despite the plume of dust, everyone avoided hitting him. Middlehurst gratefully took back the lead by 0.397s over Romanek, who could not challenge for first place as he had to defend from Quinn. But Quinn then came under attack at Brundle from Budzinski, and contact exiting the corner sent Quinn spinning into retirement.

Profiting to complete the podium behind Middlehurst and Romanek was McCaughan, with Budzinski finishing fourth before he was disqualified for his clash with Quinn. Nathan Yu beat Brindley Kinch to seventh in a photo finish.

The race one order set the race two grid, and Romanek took the lead from pole-sitter Middlehurst into the opening corner. Middlehurst reclaimed it at Brundle, then led all the way until a car issue meant he stopped on track on the final lap.

Until then he had soaked up pressure from Romanek, who took to the grass to pass a slowing Middlehurst for the lead but then was overtaken by Kelly for the win at Brundle.

Budzinski charged up from the back to finish just behind in third. Allaer retired after colliding with McCaughan, then was disqualified for the clash. McCaughan managed to finish the race.

Romanek went from fifth on the reversed-grid to first place in less than a lap in race three, then had a comfortable lead cut down by Budzinski lap by lap until the victory fight was decided in a photo finish.

Just 0.062s split the two, and Middlehurst beat McCaughan to third by 0.137s after several laps of passing each other.

Results round-up
Race 1 (8 laps)
1 Chris Middlehurst Team Dolan 16m16.937s
2 Lucas Romanek Oldfield Motorsport +0.397s
3 Brandon McCaughan Oldfield Motorsport +2.539s
4 Nolan Allaer Ammonite Motorsport +7.369s
5 Tom Nippers +7.396s
6 Charlie Mann +19.234s
7 Nathan Yu Team Dolan +25.209s
8 Brindley Kinch Ammonite Motorsport +25.387s
Ret Morgan Quinn Team Dolan
Ret Jordan Kelly Team Dolan
Pole: Middlehurst, 1m59.821s
Fastest lap: Budzinski, 2m00.554s

Race 2 (8 laps)
1 Kelly 16m20.614s
2 Romanek +0.184s
3 Elliott Budzinski Ammonite Motorsport +0.361s
4 Quinn +2.698s
5 Mann +16.341s
6 Kinch +17.425s
7 Yu +23.682s
8 McCaughan +39.489s
Ret Middlehurst
Ret Nippers
FL: Budzinski, 2m00.820s

Race 3 (6 laps)
1 Romanek 12m18.833s
2 Budzinski +0.062s
3 Middlehurst +2.577s
4 McCaughan +2.714s
5 Quinn +2.930s
6 Aller +7.878s
7 Nippers +7.938s
8 Mann +12.076s
9 Yu +31.780s
Ret Kinch
FL: Middlehurst, 2m01.007s

Championship standings
1 Romanek 145   2 McCaughan 121   3 Budzinski 101   4 Quinn 88   5 Middlehurst 86   6 Allaer 78   7 Kelly 70   8 Nippers 51   9 Mann 50   10 Kinch 42