Home Formula RegionalFRegional Americas Patrick Woods-Toth starts FRegional Americas season on top at NOLA

Patrick Woods-Toth starts FRegional Americas season on top at NOLA

by Ida Wood

Photo: Gavin Baker Photography

Formula Regional Americas started its season in chaotic style at NOLA Motorsports Park.

Patrick Woods-Toth, one of nine Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport drivers, dominated qualifying with a 1m33.638s lap putting him on pole by 0.406 seconds over Velox USA’s Nicolas Ambiado.

Just 0.068s separated Ambiado and Ryan Shehan behind, with Titus Sherlock the only other driver within a second of pole.

Shehan snuck to the inside of Woods-Toth at the start of race one, but Cole Kleck got even tighter to the inside and took third place at turn one as the top two just about held their positions. Kleck cleared Ambiado at turn four, then went down the inside of Woods-Toth at turn six for the lead.

Landan Matriano Lim and Jett Bowling suffered tyre trouble and pitted, then James Lawley crashed out of eighth on lap two. The pace car was summoned a lap later, by which point Shehan had lost fourth to Sherlock.

Lawley was brought back into the race a lap down, and green flag action resumed on lap six. It was not for long, as Kevin Janzen and Lim both stopped on track and the pace car returned.

Red flags waved on lap seven, and the race restarted under yellow flag conditions on lap eight. The seven laps of racing that followed featured one pass for position, which was for eighth on the last lap, as Kleck led home Woods-Toth and Ambiado.

Kleck started race two on pole, and there was drama from the off. One driver took to the grass straight away and Ricco Shlaimoun did later in the lap, with a caution period called as Lim retired too.

Sherlock had taken the lead from Kleck, with Ambiado, Hayden Bowlsbey, Shehan and Woods-Toth occuping third to sixth place.

Racing resumed on lap five (with Lim inserted back into the race) and Sherlock locked up both front wheels so heavily approaching turn one that he did not even attempt making the corner. That kept him the lead, while Janzen retired with suspension damage.

Sherlock had another lock-up that led to him cutting several corners and falling to 11th, and another caution period was called. Alex Benavitz meanwhile retired in the pits with gearbox issues that ruled him out of race three.

The race was red-flagged on lap six with Kleck leading, and it restarted on lap seven with a lap behind the pace car while Sherlock sat in the pits.

Ambiado started lap nine 0.086s behind Kleck but could not get past, and on lap 10 forced them both deep at turn two which allowed Woods-Toth through. Contact then sent Ambiado into retirement, and race-ending red flags waved the lap after so Woods-Toth won.

Shehan had pole for race three. Bowlsbey took the outside line for turn one to rise to second, and fought with Kleck until he dropped a wheel in the gravel and fell to fifth.

Ambiado spun out so lap two ran behind the pace car, and on the restart Kleck shot past two cars but got overtaken by Woods-Toth at turn three. On lap five Woods-Toth dived past Bowlsbey, who then went off and broke his suspension.

Bowling and Kleck fought over third through lap 17 until contact led to Bowling putting a wheel in the gravel. He did not lose ground though as Nicola Havrda stopped on track, a caution period was called and Shehan met the chequered flag as winner at the end of the lap.

Results round-up
Race 1 (15 laps)
1 Cole Kleck DD Autosport 30m03.334s
2 Patrick Woods-Toth Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport +1.121s
3 Nicolas Ambiado Velox USA +5.196s
4 Titus Sherlock Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport +10.473s
5 Ryan Shehan Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport +10.512s
6 Hayden Bowlsbey IGY6 Motorsports +13.606s
7 Nicole Havrda Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport +18.723s
8 Justin Garat Speed Factory +35.215s
9 Ricco Shlaimoun Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport +38.310s
10 Anthony Autiello Momentum Motorsports +58.403s
Pole: Woods-Toth, 1m33.538s
Fastest lap: Kleck, 1m35.278s

Race 2 (10 laps)
1 Woods-Toth 23m25.379s
2 Kleck +0.973s
3 Bowlsbey +1.437s
4 Shehan +2.652s
5 Jett Bowling Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport +3.115s
6 Havrda +4.625s
7 James Lawley Atlantic Racing Team +6.040s
8 Garat +6.416s
9 Autiello +11.830s
10 Ambiado +1 lap
FL: Shehan, 1m36.162s

Race 3 (17 laps)
1 Shehan 31m01.493s
2 Woods-Toth +0.165s
3 Kleck +0.486s
4 Bowling +2.155s
5 Garat +3.659s
6 Lanan Matriano Lim Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport +4.915s
7 Shlaimoun +5.900s
8 Kevin Janzen Crosslink/Kiwi Motorsport +6.322s
9 Lawley +7.582s
Ret Sherlock
FL: Shehan, 1m35.917s

Championship standings
1 Woods-Toth 61   2 Kleck 58   3 Shehan 47   4 Bowlsbey 23   5 Bowling 22   6 Garat 18   7 Ambiado 16   8 Havrda 14   9 Sherlock 12   10 Lim 8