Sonic Motor Racing's Matt Hillyer has extended his points lead after he won the fifth round of the 2023 Australian Formula Ford Series at Sandown.
The Walkinshaw Andretti United junior development driver won two of the three incident-marred races where Altatek Racing's Harrison Sellars (Spectrum) and Hillyer's Sonic teammate Jake Santalucia third.
Qualifying was shortened after it was red flagged twice; the initial issued after James Gossier's entry suffered an engine detonation, the second when Harrison Blanchard made contact with the wall at Turn 3.
Sellars laid down his time early and secured pole for Race 1 ahead of Jack Bussey, Hillyer and Santalucia. Zak Lobko, Kobi Williams, Xavier Kokai, Connor Somers and Fraser Hie were next best.
From the second row Hillyer was the leader by Turn 1 with Santalucia hot on his heels in second with Sellars. Then followed Williams, Kokai and Lobko. The Safety Car came out after Williams and Bussey had contact at Turn 1, and Imogen Radburn was off at Turn 3.
As the race went green again, the rain came with three cars off at Turn 1. It became the last lap and Hillyer won ahead of Kokai, Santalucia, Sellars, Hie and Edison Beswick as the Synergy Motorsport Spectrum picked up six places on the last lap. Lobko and Lachlan Strickland were DNFs when they came to grief at Turn 11.
A last lap incident has marred what was otherwise an exciting Race 2.
Kokai nailed the Race 2 start to lead Sellars and Hillyer. Less than two laps in, the Safety Car was deployed after Tom Davies ended up in the sand at Turn 9.
Kokai held the restart until Turn 1 where he spun, with Hillyer was on the grass briefly. Beswick inherited the lead from Sellers and Santalucia as they swapped places over the ensuing laps.
At the final corner on the last lap, Beswick attempted a move on Collins that caused contact which Conor Somers nowhere to go but to be also involved. Harrison Sellars took his maiden win ahead of Hillyer and Cody Maynes-Rutty.
Hillyer led all the way in Race 3 where Sellars was second after he briefly lost the spot midway through for a lap to Williams. Santalucia was third ahead of Maynes-Rutty, Williams and Nick Mendez. There was an early Safety Car when Hie and Blanchard went off at Turn 2.
Hillyer now has a 67-point lead over Lobko with Santalucia third with the next round held in conjunction with the 2023 Victorian State Circuit Racing Championship at Phillip Island on September 22-24.