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Manson dominates Taupo while Grant maintains lead in NIFF series

Seb Manson won all three races at the second round of the 2023/24 Giltrap Group North Island Formula Ford Series (NIFF) held at the Taupo International Motorsport Park in Taupo on Sunday. While Manson stole the show, Dylan Grant has maintained his overall lead back to Zach Blincoe and Blake Dowdall.

Manson (Spectrum 015) along with Will Neale (Van Diemen Stealth) and Blake Knowles (Van Diemen RF05) are currently competing in the South Island Series and made the trip north to gain both more race miles as well as time on the Taupo track with a view to competing in the national series this season. All three finished on the podium in that order in each of the three races.

Qualifying was a close call with Knowles setting a quick 1:35.249 only to be pipped at the flag, first with Grant setting a 1:35.190 then Manson going fastest with a 1:35.039, winning the $500 cash prize for fastest qualifier provided by the Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy.

Manson then went on in each race to gain a jump at the start and maintain a gap to the battling pack behind him for the remaining podium places, particularly between Neale and Knowles. Neale received the NAPA Auto Parts $300 trade voucher for Driver of the Day after a fantastic pass on Knowles at the end of the back straight on the last lap of the final race.

“We have done a lot of work this season with the team in preparation for racing so we are in a really good window with good pace,” commented Manson. “It’s a great result so thrilled with the weekend.”

Having dominated the opening round, Grant (Van Diemen RF03) came under pressure from Mason Potter (Spectrum 015), Zach Blincoe (Mygale SJ07) and Blake Dowdall (Spectrum 015) in the fight for a top five placing. The result has seen his 40-point lead going into the round reduced to 26.

Potter has continued to show some real speed after engine issues dogged his opening round one. Also improving and taking the fight to Grant is Zach Blincoe who sits second overall and within striking distance of the series lead.

Drivers and teams head to Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon this coming weekend for the third round. 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.

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