M2 Competiton’s Gerrard Xie overcame an early Alex Crosbie charge to win Sunday’s Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship opener at Taupo International Motorsport Park.
Saturday’s race-winner, Roman Bilinski, made moves from eighth on the grid for second, with Crosbie forced to settle for third, having comfortably led early but having his advantage wiped by two Safety Cars.
Liam Sceats finished fourth, ahead of hard charger Patrick Woods Toth, who impressively worked to fifth from near the rear of the 17-car field.
Kaleb Ngatoa was caught in a late incident with Christian Mansell and failed to finish, while Kaden Probst was 13th, having come together with teammate Lucas Fecury mid-race. This incident caused the race’s second caution when the Brazilian became stranded in the sand trap.
Having finished eighth in Saturday’s race, Crosbie lined up on pole for Sunday’s reverse top-eight opener, getting a good launch and pulling a clear gap into Turn 1. Sceats also got away well, jumping front-row starter Tommy Smith to fall behind the Southlander.
Crosbie put in a quick first lap to hold a 1.6-second advantage, while 2022 Chinese F4 champion Xie got past Smith for third with a tidy Turn 1 dive on Lap 2.
Sceats came under increasing pressure from Xie, which saw Crosbie’s lead quickly extend beyond 2 seconds.
Wood-Toth’s weekend had finally begun to take a turn, and he was among the biggest early movers, jumping Saturday’s runner-up Christian Mansell for eighth before a Lap 4 Safety Car brought the field together.
The caution resulted from contact between Titus Sherlock and Nicola Lacorte, the former sustaining suspension damage and requiring assistance to return to the lane.
Crosbie resumed proceedings with a tidy restart on Lap 7 and again pulled to a healthy advantage that would be short-lived, with a second caution called when Fecury came into contact with Probst.
Probst was running the inside line at Turn 2 and was squeezed by the Brazilian, who connected with the Kiwi and spun into the sand.
Just before the intervention was called, Xie had worked past Sceats and sat second, while Saturday’s winner, Bilinski, had moved up to fifth.
Xie kept with Crosbie on the Lap 11 restart while Bilinski worked past Smith for fourth and began to hunt down Sceats. The Polish driver moved into the podium places on Lap 12, passing Sceats at the final corner.
Woods-Toth was also working forward and passed Ngatoa for seventh, who was in battle with Michael Shin on Lap 13.
Xie was on Crosbie’s rear with four laps to run, the battle bringing Bilinski into the equation as they pulled clear of Sceats, who held a 3-second advantage over Smith.
A good slipstream down the back straight saw Xie take the lead on Lap 15, with Bilinski following through at Turn 1 the following circuit. Sceats also closed the gap as the battle up front unfolded, getting onto the rear of his former Formula Ford rival.
Mansell had begun to find some pace but came together with Ngatoa on Lap 16, both cars sustaining suspension damage. The Australian spun to the infield but was deemed to be in a safe enough place for racing to continue while Ngatoa limped to pit lane.
Xie held on to take the win from Bilinski, with Crosbie’s strong drive from pole rewarded with a podium.
The Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship returns for one final race in Taupo, with Mansell starting on pole next to Crosbie.
Racing begins at 4.04 pm and will be shown live on Sky Sport.
CTFROC Race 2 Results
|Patrick Woods Toth
|Landan Matriano Lim
Header Image: Toyota Gazoo Racing (Bruce Jenkins)