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MSNZ National Championships

Too Close To Call

January 10, 2019

If the first two rounds of this championship are anything to go by, then the South Island fans who will see the series at both Highlands Motorsport Park and Teretonga Park are in for an absolute treat when the Toyota 86 Championship revs up for rounds three and four over the next two weekends.

The racing, quite simply, has been breathtaking throughout each and every lap of the six races (three per weekend) that have so far been completed. No driver has been able to dominate and it’s been all about race craft, passing, slipstreaming and extracting tenths if not hundredths of seconds from the identical cars to make the difference between first and tenth. It really has been that close. No other championship series in New Zealand has been closer.

At the end of 2018, with the Supercar and ‘old course’ rounds at Pukekohe behind them, it’s CareVets young gun Callum Hedge with his nose out front on the points. South Island fans will be familiar with Hedge as the youngster won down South in F1600 last season and has basically kept on winning in a variety of racing machinery ever since.

A race victory at the first round and two wins at the second have made him the driver to beat, but it’s been much closer than three wins suggests. Connor Adam sits second in the championship and has two wins while Jaden Ransley has a race win and sits third.

Peter Vodanovich, Arran Crighton and Jordan Baldwin have also all showed race winning ability. Baldwin particularly has shown exceptional speed in qualifying and at the last round impressed in blazing a trail through the field to get onto the podium. A race win for any must be due soon.

Also impressing with speed have been Kaleb Ngatoa and Brock Gilchrist. And it’s fair to say that anyone from the rest of the field – particularly Connor Davison, Campbell Stewart, Mitch Hughes, Justin Allen, Andrew Jackson and Leo Bult – are easily capable of pulling off a top three or even a win given how close it has been.

TOYOTA 86 CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS AFTER TWO ROUNDS

1 Callum Hedge 378
2 Connor Adam 364
3 Jaden Ransley 363
4 Jordan Baldwin 348
5 Brock Gilchrist 262
6 Peter Vodanovich 247
7 Kaleb Ngatoa 232
8 Arran Crighton 225
9 Campbell Stewart 184
10 Jacob Cranston 180
11 Sam Wright 177
12 Connor Davison 177
13 Jake Klein 143
14 Mitch Hughes 141
15 Justin Allen 134
16 Andrew Jackson 111
17 Tony Austin 102
18 Leo Bult 80

Caption:  It’s anyone’s weekend in the third round of the Toyota 86 Championship this weekend at Highlands Motorsport Park. Picture Bruce Jenkins.

Release: Toyota Racing NZ

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