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Burdett runaway winner in Ford Festival

 

Sophomore season Formula Ford driver Michael Burdett blitzed the field in the 20-lap final at the annual Formula Ford Festival at Powerbuilt Raceway (Ruapuna) last weekend.


The Festival was run for the first time at a Canterbury Car Club club day, rather than at a promoted meeting and the Formula Ford part of the programme reduced to three races – two heats and a final – on the full circuit.

Burdett started the final from pole with his Wynns-backed Stealth, and was only briefly headed at the start by Hugh Gardiner’s Van Diemen. At the first corner, Burdett swept to the front and romped away with an ever-extending lead until he was more than 21 seconds clear of the second placeman at the flag.

Two of the favoured runners spun on the first lap. John Whelan lost it at the exit of the fast Pot Hole People turn and former Formula First runner Andrew Waite spun at the hairpin.

As Burdett’s lead extended, the fastest of the local drivers Nick Donaldson, driving his father’s ageing RF92 Van Diemen, fought past Gardiner to take second place.

Gardiner then came under attack from Daniel Jilesen and when Gardiner eventually slowed and pulled into pitlane with gearbox failure on the eighth lap, the order became Burdett with a big gap to Donaldson and then a smaller gap back to Jilesen, Caine Lobb and Kurt Peterson running in line astern.

When Jilesen appeared to miss a gear on the front straight, Lobb swept by to take over third place and at one stage he seemed to be making inroads into the gap to second place man Donaldson, but the Christchurch teenager had the situation in hand and maintained the buffer.


Burdett was never pressured at the front, maintaining consistent lap times in the
cold conditions.

Donaldson was delighted to finish second, ahead of Lobb, Jilesen, Peterson and the second of the South Island runners Adam Reid. Waite, who had brake problems in his ex-Shane Van Gisbergen, championship-winning, Stealth, fought his way up to sixth after his first lap spin.

“I’ve been here most of the week and I had a pretty strong car, so I was confident.” 


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