Grant’s lead in North Island Formula Ford series under threat heading to Manfeild
Dylan Grant’s lead in the 2023/24 Giltrap Group North Island Formula Ford Series (NIFF) may well come under threat this weekend at the third round of the season in Feilding. Heading to the Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon, Grant has a 26-point lead back to Zach Blincoe with Blake Dowdall also in range.
Having dominated the opening round, Grant (Van Diemen RF03) came under pressure at the second round in Taupo last weekend, from Mason Potter (Spectrum 015), Blincoe (Mygale SJ07) and Dowdall (Spectrum 015). While Potter is 110-points behind in sixth overall, he has continued to show some real speed after engine issues dogged his opening round one.
Throw in the mix two South Island competitors, Will Neale (Van Diemen Stealth) and Blake Knowles (Van Diemen RF05), and we will have a real battle for race wins and podium places between six top drivers.
Both Neale and Knowles competed last weekend in Taupo, finishing all three races on the podium, and more of the same will be expected across the three races at this round. Neale also won the NAPA Auto Parts $300 trade voucher for Driver of the Day which is presented at each round.
On a track with some of the best overtaking opportunities, qualifying well maybe the key with the bonus of the $500 cash prize for fastest qualifier provided by the Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy. Add to this the importance of tyre strategy over the series. Drivers are allocated eight tyres for the first four round meaning some may have new tyres for qualifying while others may be on used.
A substantial Rookie prize of a large tool kit package from Napa Auto Parts will be offered this year by NIFF to the highest placed rookie. Last season it was a real duel-out between Blake Dowdall and Dylan Grant which went down to the final race of the season. Reagan Edwards (Spectrum 015) is the highest placed rookie so far this season and sits fifth overall just three-points behind Shane Drake (Van Diemen RF92) who is the highest placed Class 2 car (1990-1999).
This season sees an exciting prize for the NZ Formula Ford Championship Class 2 winner after moving the Stealth cars into the Class 1 category. Toyota Gazoo Racing have put up an FT50 test for the winner of Class 2 to encourage these entry level drivers and cars back into Formula Ford.
It’s a busy weekend with qualifying and two 10-lap races on Saturday followed on Sunday with a ten and a 12-lap race.