Home Formula FordNational FF1600 Romanek wins National FF1600 opener at Oulton Park in photo finish

Romanek wins National FF1600 opener at Oulton Park in photo finish

by Ida Wood

Photo: Ida Wood

Lucas Romanek was declared victor of a thrilling opening race of the BRSCC National Formula Ford 1600 season at Oulton Park in a photo finish.

The Ango-Pole beat Oldfield Motorsport team-mate Brandon McCaughan by just 0.078 seconds, with the top six covered by 0.862s in an interruption-free race.

McCaughan started on pole, with fellow front-row man not making the start due to a driveshaft failure in his Team Dolan-run car. Kevin Mills Racing’s Esports star Lucas Blakeley did make it to the grid, in fifth place, but failed to get going off the start and was wheeled into the pits where he started the race a lap down.

A strong start was made by McCaughan, while Dolan duo Jordan Kelly and Morgan Quinn fought over second place on the run to turn one.

The best start came from Romanek, who qualified eighth but only had six cars ahead of him due to Middlehurst’s non-start, as he made it up to second by the end of lap one.

Romanek set fastest lap and overtook McCaughan for the lead on lap two, finishing the lap 0.45s ahead, then McCaughan cut that gap on lap three while Quinn and Ammonite Motorsport’s Elliott Budzinski kept a watching brief.

Just 0.081s split the top two after lap four, while Kelly in fifth benefited from a quadruple tow to set fastest lap. The gap up front had grown slightly to 0.187s the next lap, then by a bigger margin the lap after as Quinn got involved in the lead battle and Kelly benefited to improve his fastest lap.

McCaughan responded to Quinn’s pressure by closing back in on Romanek, setting fastest lap to sit 0.212s behind after seven of the 11 laps.

They ended the next lap side-by-side, with McCaughan briefly classified ahead before turn one. It was a similar story the lap after too, with Romanek 0.124s ahead but then McCaughan getting alongside into the opening corner as Quinn and Budzinski did the same over third place.

Later in the lap Quinn then went wheel-to-wheel with McCaughan, but when the trio reached the start/finish line it was a side-by-side Oldfield battle once again.

They stayed alongside each other for two corners, then McCaughan tucked in behind before going for the lead again as they went to the chequered flag. It was a photo finish and McCaughan was initially shown ahead on live timing, before an official result using the sensor line (visible at the bottom of the image above) put Romanek back into first place.

Quinn was 0.281s behind in third, and Kelly passed Budzinski at the last corner on the penultimate lap for fourth. Blakeley finished a lap down, while Ammonite’s Brindley Kinch retired due to suspension trouble.

Race result (11 laps)
Pos Driver Team Car Time
1 Lucas Romanek Oldfield Motorsport Van Diemen 20m04.953s
2 Brandon McCaughan Oldfield Motorsport Van Diemen JA13 +0.078s
3 Morgan Quinn Team Dolan Van Diemen RF99 +0.429s
4 Jordan Kelly Team Dolan Van Diemen RF06 +0.489s
5 Elliott Budzinski Ammonite Motorsport Ray GR18 +0.760s
6 Nolan Allaer Ammonite Motorsport Ray GR22 +0.862s
7 David McArthur B-M Racing Medina Sport BH19 +3.233s
8 Tom Nippers Van Diemen RF01 +19.697s
9 Donal Downey Ray GR20 +25.877s
10 Neil McArthur B-M Racing Van Diemen La10 +59.804s
11 Lucas Blakeley Kevin Mills Racing Spectrum 011C +1 lap
Ret Brindley Kinch Ray GR10
Ret Chris Middlehurst Team Dolan Van Diemen LA10
Fastest lap: McCaughan, 1m48.022s