Can Crosbie stay ahead as Formula Ford titles to be decided this weekend?
Christchurch’s Euromarque Motorsport Park host the final round of both the 2023 NAPA Auto Parts NZ Formula Ford Championship (NZFF) and the 2022/23 Yokohama South Island Formula 1600 Championship (SIFF) with both Class and overall titles to be decided over four races. Following an average penultimate round last weekend in Invercargill, current national title holder Alex Crosbie holds a slender 52-point lead over Daniel Brown with Sebastian Manson also within striking distance.
“I’m feeling confident with having the lead heading to Ruapuna (Christchurch),” commented Crosbie. “We have new tyres available for qualifying which could be to our advantage as other competitors have already used up their allocation.”
There is a maximum of 302-points on offer for the national title, with 75-points for each race winner and a bonus 2-points for the fastest qualifier. Brown (Ray GR21) could be Crosbie’s (Ray GR21) greatest threat as the former has been consistent across the whole season, finishing 10-times in the top five and hunting for his first race win. He set fastest qualifying time at Teretonga Park (Invercargill) winning the Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy $1,010.10 cash prize which will be on offer again this weekend.
Star performer at the last round was Christchurch’s Blake Knowles (Van Diemen RF05) who won three of the four races and currently leads the South Island series ahead of Crosbie. For the finale there is double-points available for the final race with a maximum of 377-points on the line (75 per race with 150 for final and two for top qualifier).
“It’s been a massive confidence booster heading to Ruapuna,” said Knowles. Hopefully I will be able to hold onto the lead in the SIFF and have a good run to chip away at the NZFF. It’s my home track so should be good, although to be fair, everyone is quick around that track.”
Manson (Spectrum 015) is just 74-points off the lead in the national series and, like Brown, has been consistently finishing in the top ten with four podium finishes. Knowles is a further 36-points behind with William Neale (Van Diemen Stealth) in fifth. Neale had his break-through maiden race victory last weekend and currently leads Class 2 in both the NZFF and SIFF.
Also in the mix will be Dylan Grant (Spectum 015) and Dylan Petch (Ray GR20) both having a less than ideal round in Invercargill, Caleb Byers (Ray GR21), Blake Dowdall, Thomas Flynn (Swift SC92) and Jacob Cunniffe (Sift SC96K), all capable of finishing on the podium.
The national championship has two rounds in the North and two in the South Islands and is seen as crucial to the growth in both experience and confidence for young drivers wanting to progress their single seater career. The Tony Quinn Foundation has provided a travel grant to enable Formula Ford competitors to undertake this essential travel.
Up for grabs is the Hampton Downs NZ Race Academy $1,010.10 cash prize for fastest qualifier as well as the $230 NAPA Auto Parts ‘Driver of the Day prize. Also on offer is a Toyota Formula Regional Oceania FT60 test for the winner of the national title while both North and South Island series winners will get a FT50 test.
The Napa Auto Parts NZ Formula Ford Championship and the Yokohama South Island Formula 1600 Championship are also supported by Yokohama, the Tony Quinn Foundation and NAPA Auto Parts.