Hedge on fire in second Highlands FROC qualifying
Callum Hedge stamped his authority on outright speed around Highlands Motorsport Park in the second qualifying session at the first round of the Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship today.
The 18 year old Kiwi, who dominated proceedings on Saturday, raised the bar again in the qualifying session for the weekend’s feature race. His 1 minute 27.688 lap eclipsed the next best by six tenths of a second – a huge margin.
Hedge followed his usual process of being one of the last in the group, building up speed slowly and then releasing a series of fast laps that left the rest of the field breathless. The first was a high 1 minute 27 second effort before he unleashed his best. It left him untouchable at the top.
“It’s not normally the case in any qualifying session where I get a lap that I am happy with but I am happy with that one. I built up the speed, did a bit of a cool off then did a 1 minute 27.8 and I knew that was a good lap, but I also felt I could go quicker so next time around I pushed a little harder everywhere hoping the thousandths of a second here and there would add up. In the end it was two tenths quicker than the previous one so I can’t really complain!
“You definitely have to push hard. If I settle back on the fast lap then the time isn’t there, so it really is about pushing all of the time. I feel I have a nice understanding of the car and it is flowing quite well even when I am pushing it hard. Credit too to the M2 Competition boys, they’ve made a great car.”
American David Morales will join Hedge on the front row of the grid for this afternoon’s race, once again the fastest of the USA contingent racing in the 2023 championship. His 1 minute 28.281 was a very respectable effort indeed, but could not challenge the Kiwi’s ultimate pace.
Charlie Wurz pushed hard throughout the session, was consistently amongst the lead runners and also got into the low 1 minute 28 second bracket. He would have to be satisfied with third place on the grid for the feature race, however – no doubt hopeful of another demon start.
Liam Sceats – who was impressive on his first day of competition on Saturday – was the first to put in a notable fast lap with a 1 minute 28.391, a couple of tenths up on American Jacob Abel. This stood as his best of the 15 minute session and ultimately gave him a second row starting sport for the afternoon.
Abel was fifth fastest a tenth and a half behind joined by his Kiwi Motorsport team mate Brit Josh Mason who took sixth and the remaining place on the third row. Ryder Quinn also ran in the 1 minute 28 second bracket to go seventh fastest while Tom McLennan had a strong start to the day with eighth fastest lap. Texan Ryan Shehan and the impressive Chole Chambers rounded out a top ten.
The feature race will follow the second reverse top eight race this morning at Highlands Motorsport Park with the winner receiving the Dorothy Smith Memorial Cup.