Josh Smith won the 2018 Formula Ford Festival after beating Niall Murray and Ollie White in a thrilling three-way battle in a final twice interrupted by red flags.
Team Dolan’s Murray led almost all of the distance in his Van Diemen from pole but could not shake the chasing Smith of Oldfield Motorsport. Smith, also in a Van Diemen, had cleared second-place starter White off the line and led Murray for a lap after the final restart before Murray re-passed him at Druids.
White in his Medina also stayed close to the pair throughout and the three-way fight had a thrilling conclusion. On the final lap Murray blocked an attempt by Smith to pass on the inside of Paddock, which let White have a run on the pair of them into Druids. White and Murray both locked up and ran wide at the hairpin, with Smith passing both of them on the inside.
Smith was able to beat Murray to the chequered flag by less than a tenth, with Souley Motorsport’s White completing the podium.
Murray’s fellow Team Dolan runner Matt Cowley finished fourth in his Van Diemen ahead of Neil MacLennan in his Kevin Mills Racing Spectrum. Last year’s runner-up Keith Donegan finished sixth in his Van Diemen.
The eventual race was an eight-lap sprint after two red flags. The first occurred at the start of the second lap when American Carter Williams spun his Ray at Paddock and just when it looked like everyone had got through Gary Sykes clipped him, leaving both stranded and Sykes with his Ray’s right rear corner removed.
Then six laps into the restarted race defending Festival champion Joey Foster and Jake Craig made contact at Paddock, which left Foster’s Firman stranded in the Paddock gravel while Craig, who suffered damage to his Ray’s front left suspension, only got as far as the Druids gravel.
Later that lap Max Marzorati and John Svensson collided at Clark Curve, with Svensson’s Van Diemen stopping in the gravel and Marzorati’s Swift Cooper hitting the pitwall. Marzorati got out of his car unaided but needed medical attention. Fluid had also been dropped around much of the track which marshals had to clear up.
The red flag was thrown after a spell of running behind the safety car, as the track’s medical provisions were attending to Marzorati.
|1||P89||Joshua Smith||Van Diemen||6m55.837|
|2||P89||Niall Murray||Van Diemen||+0.087|
|4||P89||Matthew Cowley||Van Diemen||+3.698|
|6||P89||Keith Donegan||Van Diemen||+3.954|
|10||P89||David McCullough||Van Diemen||+8.325|
|13||P89||Chris Middlehurst||Van Diemen||+10.931|
|14||P89||Geoffroy Horion||Van Diemen||+10.973|
|17||P89||Ivor McCullough||Van Diemen||+12.243|
|20||P89||Matthew Chisholm||Van Diemen||+18.186|