Max Vidau and Jayden Ojeda have prevailed in a mammoth 31-car contest for the opening round of the Australian Formula Ford Series at Sandown this weekend, sharing the race wins and ending the event level on points.
Ojeda won the weekend’s first two races aboard his newly-built Spectrum 015 but Vidau took the lead early in Race 3 and was never headed, while Ojeda slipped down the order with an error on the opening lap.
Ojeda won the Shell Helix Fastest Lap Award during his recovery drive to third – enough to tie him on points with Vidau for the round – but the 15-year-old South Australian was awarded the round win on a countback by virtue of his victory in the weekend’s final race. It was Vidau’s first race and round victory in national Formula Ford.
“We had good pace this weekend, but it wasn’t until the last race where we were able to show our true potential,” Vidau said.
“The Sonic Motor Racing Services team prepared a great car, and it was nice to reward them with a round win.”
Ojeda was philosophical about the result.
“The first two races were excellent but in Race 3 I made a couple of little mistakes; while I was fighting my way to the front, I was able to set the fastest lap of the race which showed the pace we had this weekend.”
Privateer Jordan Boys finished third overall with a consistent performance throughout the event – his race results of eighth, fifth and fourth were enough for him to secure the final podium position.
“We struggled with the car early in the weekend, but we made tweaks in between each race, and we gradually improved it,” Boys said.
“By the final race, we were quick enough to run at the front and we were pleased to take a solid bundle of points out of the weekend.”
14-year-old Lismore driver Nathan Herne finished an impressive fourth overall on debut ahead of Cameron Shields, who was third in the opening two races but retired from the final due to a gearbox failure.
Shell Helix Pole Position Award recipient Liam McLellan crossed the line second in Race 1 after a battle with his Borland Racing team-mate Ojeda, but was subsequently excluded for a technical infringement. He recovered to finish 13th in Race 2 and second in Race 3, taking sixth overall for the weekend ahead of Cooper Murray, Hunter McElrea, Zac Soutar and Ben Reichstein.
While the large contingent of rookie drivers were mostly well-behaved, contact between Andrew Petrou and Paul Zsidy in Race 2 saw Petrou fire into the gravel trap at Dandenong Road Corner – as a result, the race was red-flagged with only four of the scheduled eight laps completed and half points awarded.
The event also doubled as the opening round of the Victorian Formula Ford Championship; the podium finishers in the Duratec Class were the same as for the national series, while the top three placegetters in the Kent Class were Brendan Jones, James Garley and Daniel Holihan.
Round 2 of the 2017 Australian Formula Ford Series will be held at Wakefield Park on 1-2 April.
National Formula Ford is proudly supported by Mazda Road to Indy, Shell Helix, Yokohama and Ferodo.
Australian Formula Ford Series – Top 10 Points (after Round 1 of 6)
=1. Max Vidau – 44
=1. Jayden Ojeda – 44
3. Jordan Boys – 25.5
4. Nathan Herne – 23.5
5. Cameron Shields – 21
6. Liam McLellan – 19
7. Cooper Murray – 18
8. Hunter McElrea – 17
9. Zac Soutar – 15.5
10. Ben Reichstein – 14