Gerrard Xie took his maiden Formula Regional Oceania pole position in qualifying for race one at Hampton Downs.
The big story of the session however was championship leader Roman Bilinski only going 14th fastest in difficult conditions.
Liam Sceats set the early pace in Q1 before being knocked off of top spot by Xie. The track was wet when the field headed out at the start of qualifying, but was continuously drying so laptimes tumbled through the session.
Sceats and Patrick Woods-Toth spent a while swapping fastest laps, with Sceats lowering the benchmark to 1m40.895s by the chequered flag. He looked set to have secured pole before a final flying lap from Xie placed him on top.
Xie’s 1m40.447s effort earned him pole by a sizeable 0.448s over Sceats, with fellow M2 Competition Nicola Lacorte over a second off the pace in third.
Bilinski had briefly been second quickest midway through qualifying but did not have the same rate of improvement as the rest of the field. While most found more pace on their final lap, Bilinski’s eighth and final lap of the session was more than 12s slower than his quickest time. The fastest lap he managed, set on his sixth tour, was 4.723s slower than Xie.
Michael Shin jumped up the order with his final lap to complete an M2 lockout of the top four places, ahead of Woods-Toth, Kaleb Ngatoa and Kaden Probst. Tommy Smith, Elliott Cleary and Alex Crosbie rounded out a top 10 covered by 2.616s.
|Landan Matriano Lim