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Sceats scores first victory

Young Kiwi sees off series leader to secure Toyota Formula Regional Oceania win.
Posted on 12 February, 2024
Sceats scores first victory
Photo: Bruce Jenkins

Liam Sceats led from lights to flag to record a famous victory in the Lady Wigram Trophy race in Christchurch to clinch his first-ever Toyota Formula Regional Oceania victory.

A race of pressure from championship leader Roman Bilinski couldn’t stop the young Kiwi star, pictured, taking the flag on February 11.

It was arguably the biggest victory of Sceats’ career and his name now joins many of motor racing’s royalty on the Canterbury Car Club’s iconic trophy.

He says: “A lot of work has gone into this. Roman put the pressure on but winning is a feeling I can’t describe.

“I was confident the win would eventually come. I remember looking at the trophy before the weekend and seeing the names on the trophy.”

A great start by Sceats from the outside of the front row saw him finally get ahead of Bilinski as a clean start left those two ahead of Patrick Woods-Toth and Bryce Aron.

The race settled down as the first half wore on with Sceats and Bilinski within a second of each other and trading fastest laps as they built a three-second lead over Woods-Toth. 

With 10 laps to go, Sceats and Bilinski were still locked in combat at the front and had built up a five-second lead over Woods-Toth, who couldn’t match their pace.

A blistering lap with two to go stretched Sceats’ advantage to just over a second and that was enough to hold off Bilinski, and take an emotional and famous win.

A flying Michael Shin put new rubber to good effect at Euromarque Motorsport Park by winning the second race of the weekend in style.

Gerrard Xie came home a comfortable second while Woods-Toth won a dogfight with Bilinski to take third place.

It was a fortunate choice of tyres for Shin as a post-race penalty of 10 seconds reduced his winning margin from 12 seconds to just two seconds.

In the first race of the weekend on February 10, Bilinski made it victory number six in the series showing Sceats the way home.

The win increased the Pole’s grip on the championship. American Jacob Abel was an impressive third in his first race on his return to the championship. Bilinski says: “It was definitely not comfortable particularly with the rain spitting right at the end.”

Driver standings

1. Roman Bilinski, 320 points
2. Liam Sceats, 264pts 
3. Kaleb Ngatoa, 205pts
4. Patrick Woods-Toth, 203pts
5. Michael Shin, 185pts