Alex Crosbie takes lead in South Island F1600 Championship at home track
Southland’s Alex Crosbie has taken the lead of the 2022/23 Yokohama South Island Formula 1600 Championship after the third round at Teretonga Park, Invercargill, over the weekend. Crosbie won the first race and then finished second in the other two giving him the round win and the overall points lead at the halfway mark of the series. While rival, Blake Knowles, crossed the line first in all three races, a 10-second penalty for a safety-car infringement in Race 1 dashed his round-winning hopes and dropped him to second overall.
“I’m pleased to be back in the lead,” commented Crosbie (Ray GR21). “It was a rough start to the weekend qualifying in fourth as I was hoping to be more up the front.”
Knowles (Van Diemen RF05) set the fastest lap in qualifying winning the $500 Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy cash prize and is proving to be the quickest driver this season.
“We had the pace in the first race but ran out of time to catch Blake (Knowles),” said Crosbie. “He got a better start in the second race and went around me on the first corner. We had some good clean racing, but I couldn’t manage to stay out in front. Daniel (Brown) joined the fight and I was able to keep in front of him.”
Also in the mix was Daniel Brown (Ray GR21) who set second fastest time in qualifying and stood on the podium in all three races. Brown finished second for the weekend and sits third overall on the points table, just sixty-points behind Crosbie.
“In the final race I managed to get in front of Blake, but he had the pace down the straight,” said Crosbie. “Daniel (Brown) and I were fighting for most of the race, allowing Blake to get away.”
Also, to shine at the round was rookie Will Neale (Van Diemen Stealth) who won the NAPA Auto Parts $230 cash prize for ‘Driver of the Day’. Neale also stood on the podium for the first time having finished third in the opening race and leads the competitive Class 2 from Dominic Robertson (Swift SC94) and Thomas Flynn (Swift SC94).
Neale, along with fellow rookie Caleb Byers (Ray GR21), Simon Hunter (Mygale SJ08A), Thomas Flynn, Dylan Petch (Ray GR20), Tim Miles (Van Diemen RF92) and Dominic Robertson were all involved in a mid-field battle across the three races with what has been described as some close and clean racing.
The South Island F1600 Championship rivalry takes a break over the Christmas and New Year period with the final three deciding rounds set to go in March.