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Charlie Wurz takes lead in Super Sprint race series

Austrian Charlie Wurz leads the Castrol Toyota FR Oceania Championship following three races of the opening Super Sprint MotorSport New Zealand competition.

The first of five consecutive race weekends for the 2023 summer series started at Central Otago’s Highlands Motorsport Park. A mix of international and local drivers completed Sundays two races under searing sun and calm conditions at the Cromwell location.

The morning’s 18-lap race was won by a dominant Kiwi James Penrose with Morales fifth.

Saturday’s opening race winner Callum Hedge was hunting Morales down in what looked to be a Kiwi atop the podium and standings. However a suspension issue mid-race thwarted that chance, leaving Morales to enjoy the view out front – taking the chequered flag of the Dorothy Smith Memorial race 10.7seconds ahead of Wurz.

Consistency awarded Wurz with a narrow two point lead over Morales.

The Golden Homes GT New Zealand cars again turned on competitive entertainment following yesterday’s hour long uninterrupted race. Today’s two races were to a performance timetable, with a timed pit-stop to narrow the margin between the field. The morning 30-minute race was won by former V8 champion Paul Pedersen in a Porsche 991 Cup Car with the afternoon race won by driver pairing Heremana Malmezac and Jono Lester in the Porsche 991 Manthey Racing Cup Car. The pair took the round win based on accrued points.

Auckland’s Brock Gilchrist won the Toyota 86 opening round after a dominant victory in the afternoon finale. Finishing third in the morning 10-lap race, behind race winner Tom Bewley and second-placed Dion Pitt, set the scene for an exciting finale. Winning ahead of Dion Pitt and Clay Osborne in the afternoon 12-lap race, shot him to the top of the series points.

The Pirelli Porsche category had two bruising races to round out their weekend. The morning 10-lap race was won by Gary Derrick in the 991 GT3 car, followed by Cam McCormack taking the final race win in the 996 Cup model.

With a week between five of the eight Super Sprint rounds, the series begins its pack-down before travelling to Invercargill’s Teretonga Raceway. The second weekend returns race action to the world’s most southern FIA graded race circuit – set for 20 to 22 January.

Headlining the weekend is the Castrol Toyota FR Oceania Championship of local and international racers, who are joined by the sister Toyota 86 series. Added to the weekend is a feature class: the Southern Sprint, of all-comer saloon cars.

Racing will again be broadcast live in New Zealand on Sky Sport five, in Australia on Fox Sports and across the Pacific via the Pasifika TV service. TV3 will air the afternoon race programme as part of CRC Motorsport.

Fans can also join the Sunday afternoon entertainment with a track cruise of the circuit.

Tickets for the weekend are available online or for purchase at the gate.

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