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Three wins for Dylan Grant at North Island Formula Ford Series opener

Dylan Grant has sent a message to his single seater rivals, winning all three races at the opening round of the 2023/24 Giltrap Group North Island Formula Ford Series (NIFF) at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park on Saturday. Driving a Van Diemen RF03, the defending champion now has a 40-point lead over Zach Blincoe (Mygale SJ07) with Blake Dowdall (Spectrum 015) in third and rookie Reagan Edwards (Spectrum 015) in fourth.

“Very pleased with the weekend,” commented Grant. “It was definitely unexpected to get the three (race) wins.”

While Grant cleaned up in the racing, it was Zach Blincoe who set the fastest lap in qualifying, taking home his first $500 Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy cash prize, part of a $60,000 Formula Ford prize pool from the Tony Quinn Foundation with funding for travel and testing opportunities with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing NZ.

“I stuffed up my lap in qualifying as we had a carburettor issue,” said Grant. “We weren’t too worried about it as the main goal for the weekend was doing well in the racing.

“Zach (Blincoe) is going to be one to keep an eye on this season. Mason (Potter) has a new car and has been quick in testing while Regan (Edwards) is learning fast which is cool to see and good to see him moving up into the category.”

Starting the first race from the front row, Grant was able to get a good jump off the line taking the race lead through to the chequered flag.

“Zach got a better start in the second race, but I was able to get by and pull a gap. In the final race I was able to pull a 10-second gap as Mason had an engine issue in all three races which clearly didn’t allow him to show pre-race pace and Zach also had a suspension failure in R3.”

Also making his debut in the NIFF series was Toby McCormack in the Van Diemen RF01 Scholarship car who finished fourth in the opening race followed by two sixth placings after being taken out in R2 and an engine issue slowing him in R3.

A substantial Rookie prize (to be confirmed) 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.

While being top points scorer for Class 1 (post 2000 manufacture), Grant also won the NAPA Auto Parts $200+GST trade voucher for the drive of the day while Shane Drake (Van Diemen RF92) was first car home in Class 2 (1990-1999).

The second round takes place at the Taupo Motorsport Park, Taupo on 26 November 2023.

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