Christchurch’s James Penrose led home a Kiwi 1-2-3 at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon today in the feature race of the weekends Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship round of the Super Sprint MotorSport New Zealand Championship.
In a thrilling race to close the three-in-five weekends of Super Sprint action it was the weather that kept all eyes on the sky. Starting in balmy humid and fine conditions, the lightning flashes in the background warned of change.
Leading from pole position, Austrian and current series leader Charlie Wurz got another good start to head the field for the opening laps. A closing Louis Foster took a dive on lap 18 of 27 after closing the gap to Wurz. A deemed collision sent the two briefly from the track at the Dayle ITM hairpin. That let the Kiwi trio of Penrose, Hedge and Liam Sceats slip by as they headed for the chequered flag.
“It’s amazing, this has to be one of the highlights of my racing career,” said Penrose. “This track has a lot of heritage and heading for the Grand Prix it is a massive confidence boost.
“There was a little bit of luck on my side but got I got a good start and had good pace.”
Finishing in sixth, Wurz continues to top the season standings with Hedge now six points behind.
“I knew I had to consolidate and get the points,” described Hedge of his strategy in the afternoon race.
“It’s been a very difficult weekend for us – so I’m very happy for Tom and James and see them get the win today.”
Predictions from the drivers of Manfeild’s overtaking opportunities created plenty of interesting moments.
Brit Josh Mason won the earlier 22-lap race from a hard-chasing Louis Foster. Starting from second position Mason got the lead at the first turn, to head off pole-sitter Ryan Shehan (US).
Supporting the CTFROC headlined programme, three saloon categories concluded their race weekend – under sweltering summer skies.
In the Chocolate Fish Saloons, Palmerston North’s Jamie Potts took the weekend honours with two wins. David Thomsen (Wellington) finished second and Zach Thompson finished third. Former NZV8 champion John McIntyre finished fourth in his dad’s MK1 Ford Escort.
The Hankook MX5 class of 17 cars saw Hasting’s Nick Cummings take the overall win after two races. Justin Allen (Feilding’s) was second and Dean Evans (Hamilton) finished third.
Winning the final race was enough to hand Papamoa’s John Pope the HVRA Historic Saloon weekend win. Auckland’s Elliott Frame was second with Tony Durham in third.
The jewel in the crown of the season is next weekend’s 67th running of the New Zealand Grand Prix. The penultimate round of the five in five weekend series for the Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship (CTFROC) will include multiple supporting categories.
Held at Waikato’s Hampton Downs the weekend’s three-race schedule also includes the New Zealand Motor Cup.
All racing will be televised live in New Zealand, Australia and across the Pacific.
Tickets can be pre-purchased online with gate sales also available.