Liam Sceats enters the third round of the Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship at Hampton Downs with form on his side, having finished on the podium in three of the last four races.
The talented Kiwi youngster sits third in the standings, 31 points behind leader Roman Bilinski and only eight off Formula 3 star Christian Mansell, who now departs the series to focus on his European commitments.
Challenging conditions from wet weather tested the field at Manfeild, but Sceats rose to the occasion, his Race 1 podium coming off the back of a superb defensive effort that saw him hold off Kaleb Ngatoa for much of the race. He finished sixth in the reverse top-eight grid in Race 2 before crossing the line third in the feature, setting the fastest lap before the race was called off several laps early due to the conditions.
“A defensive drive to hold on for a podium in Race 1, solid points banked in Race 2 and a fight through the field from P7 to P3 in a wet feature race, along with being the fastest car on track, meant for another good points weekend at Manfeild Chris Amon Circuit,” said M2 Competition’s driver.
“Most importantly, we made progress in the championship hunt to P1. It is a shame a sizeable gap opened up after Round 1, but I’m focused on chipping away at it by limiting driver errors, scoring solid points every race, securing more podiums and getting some race wins under my belt.”
With a proven ability to mix it with the front runners, Sceats enters the next round at Hampton Downs, aiming to turn his podium results into wins.
“There’s work to do for us to be on that top step, but more importantly, we banked good points and are in the championship hunt,” he said after the Manfeild round.
“I’m really looking forward to racing at Hampton Downs this weekend, especially because it’s on the international circuit, which I really enjoy.
“I’m focused on Hampton Downs being the weekend where I finally maximize the full potential of the Pirelli tire, and I piece it together.
“With M2 Competition, we have made continuous good improvements, and I am feeling confident heading into the mid-way point of the championship.”
Round 3 of the Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship begins with practice sessions on Friday, ahead of Saturday’s qualifying run and sole race. The action returns on Sunday with a second qualifying run and two further races.
The series then heads south, with rounds at Ruapuna and Highlands Motorsport Park wrapping up the competition.
With the improvements shown over the opening two rounds, Sceats will enter the season-concluding New Zealand Grand Prix amongst the favourites, looking to join the likes of Lance Stroll, Lando Norris, Liam Lawson, Nick Cassidy, Mitch Evans, Earl Bamber and Shane van Gisbergen as Grand Prix winners.
Header Image: Toyota Gazoo Racing (Bruce Jenkins)