Souley Motorsport’s Oliver White guaranteed himself a front row slot for the Formula Ford Festival final by winning a frenetic second semi-final from Matt Cowley.
Multiple Champion of Brands winner White, starting third, claimed second place at the start in his Medina, then pressurised the Team Dolan-run Van Diemen of poleman Cowley.
White assertively passed Cowley for the lead down the inside of Paddock Hill Bend at half distance, benefitting from new tyres compared to Cowley’s old set, and won comfortably by 1.6s.
Returnee Peter Dempsey finished third in his Ray GR18, closely shadowing Cowley to the end.
Second-place starter Keith Donegan dropped to 19th place with a half-spin at Druids on the first lap, then recovered to finish sixth.
Donegan had been uncertain of progressing to the final after carburettor aboard his Van Diemen was changed prior to the semi-final, having struggled for acceleration late in his heat on Friday.
Carter Williams finished fourth in his Don Hardman Racing Ray ahead of Jonathan Browne’s Ray in fifth.
The race featured a lengthy safety car period, after Team Dolan runners Matt Round-Garrido’s Medina and Chris Middlehurst’s Van Diemen collided at Graham Hill Bend on lap two.
Rory Smith’s Medina was also caught up in the melee, with Smith and Middlehurst out and Round-Garrido well down the order. Round-Garrido recovered to claim the last automatic qualification slot for the final in 12th.
A frantic late multi-car battle ended when Adriano Medeiros’ Van Diemen rode up on the back of Gary Sykes’ Ray at Graham Hill Bend on the final lap, letting Noel Robinson’s Van Diemen and Round-Garrido claim the final two qualification slots.
Smith and Middleshurst must now rely on drop-outs to get into the Last Chance Race.
|2||P89||Matt Cowley||Van Diemen||+1.625|
|6||P89||Keith Donegan||Van Diemen||+5.677|
|7||P90||Alan Davidson||Mondiale M89S||+7.789|
|9||P90||Tom McArthur||Reynard 88FF||+8.840|
|11||P89||Noel Robinson||Van Diemen||+14.154|
|13||P89||Vincent Radermecker||Van Diemen||+14.533|
|14||P90||Henry Campbell||Reynard 89FF||+15.419|
|15||P89||Matthew Chisholm||Van Diemen||+15.527|