Mansell sets Manfeild pace

Kaden probst Mafeild test (940 x 450)

Christian Mansell confirmed he will be a force to be reckoned with at the second round of the Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship’s second round this weekend after topping two of three test sessions at Manfeild -  Circuit Chris Amon.

Australian Mansell topped the first and last sessions in his Giles Motorsport entry, enjoying the challenges of the unique town-centre circuit located in Feilding in the Manawatu region of New Zealand’s North Island.

A surprise in the second session of the day was the pace of Elliott Cleary, the Australian topping the timesheets for the first time so far in his championship campaign after a promising first round last weekend.

He was in the top ten fastest drivers throughout the day as well, finishing sixth in the final session of the day. It was a solid performance by the MTEC Motorsport racer and his good solid pace around the tight Manawatu track bodes well for his weekend.

Local racer Kaleb Ngatoa – who comes from the town of Marton barely 30km away from the track – was another to perform well in testing,  clocking the second fastest time in the first session before taking sixth in the second session and a solid third in the final period on track.

Another Kiwi to shine on a bright day was rookie Kaden Probst who was another consistent runner for MTEC Motorsport who clocked third fastest time in the second session and backed it up with a fifth fastest time in the final session.

Roman Bilinksi, who showed his class with two wins at Taupo to begin the second weekend as the series leader, had a more challenging day bringing up the rear in two sessions but going second fastest to Cleary in P2.

Another to catch the eye and looking for a big weekend after his first round frustrations was Canadian Patrick Woods-Toth who built up his pace throughout the day before clocking a time good enough for second place in the final session. The Kiwi Motorsport driver will be fired up to put some real momentum into his campaign this weekend.

Saturday morning brings qualifying and then in the afternoon, a historical moment for New Zealand’s top single seater category when it starts its 300th race.  The first race, back in 2005, was won by none other than Le Mans winner and WEC champion Brendon Hartley.

Since then the championship has built a list of graduates that includes drivers in Formula One, Indycar, Formula E, WEC, Supercars, international GT racing and just about everything in between.