Lady Wigram Trophy pole position to Bilinski
Outstanding Polish talent Roman Bilinski raised his game yet again in the 2024 Castrol Toyota FR Oceania Championship at the Euromarque Motorsport Park – putting in an outstanding lap late in qualifying to take pole position for the afternoon’s big Lady Wigram Trophy feature race.
A banker lap early on put the championship leader at the top of the timesheets early, and he found more time later in the session to secure another pole position. His 1 minute 16.818 lap was a scintillating effort and the fastest lap of the weekend so far. It was also close to the best ever lap achieved in the championship history, a 1 minute 16.800 set by Jehan Daruvala back in 2017.
“Like I’ve been saying the whole championship the wind is a factor with these cars and it was in this session so that part was tough,” he explained after collecting yet another series trophy for pole position.
“I gave it everything on the last lap and was right on the limit, so I am happy to get pole. It will be fun to look at the onboard because it was drifting a lot.
Conditions were perfect for the 15-minute qualifying session for the Lady Wigram Trophy race – the weekend’s big feature race – and right from the opening few minutes the championship leader made his intentions clear by topping the times as the drivers built up their tyre temperatures and pace.
The usual pace setters quickly popped up towards the front of the field, with Liam Sceats closest to Bilinski and ahead of Gerrard Xie, Jacob Abel, Michael Shin, and Kaleb Ngatoa in a top ten covered by less than a second with five minutes on the clock remaining.
With three minutes to go, the pace increased with most of the top ten in the magic 1 minute 17 second bracket. Sceats improved his best to sit just a few hundredths behind Bilinski’s best, clearly giving 100% as he tried to match his teammate. He was frustrated after the session but remained upbeat for the afternoon’s race.
Nobody could match Bilinski’s last effort though, his lap a full quarter of a second better than the next man Sceats.
Bryce Aron popped up into sixth in the last minute and on his last lap went even quicker to take an impressive third on the grid behind the two championship protagonists.
Another late lap stand out performance was delivered by Canadian Patrick Woods-Toth too, the Kiwi Motorsport driver securing a spot on the second row. Xie and Abel were fifth and sixth respectively followed by Shin and Alex Crosbie.
Jett Bowling put in his best qualifying session of the championship to take ninth on the grid, while Giles Motorsport’s Kaleb Ngatoa was unable to maintain his early session form and slipped back to tenth on the grid.
A notable performance came from young gun Sebastian Manson, currently excelling in Formula Ford. With those duties completed, he entered for the Sunday CTFROC races as a wild card. He will start Race 2 from the back of the grid but caught the eye in qualifying for the feature race with 12th fastest time on debut.