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Jame Penrose wins FROC race two in style

James Penrose reminded the single seater world there’s more than one outstanding rising Kiwi star with a dominant win in the second race of the Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship at Highlands Motorsport Park.

With the grid for the second race of the Formula Regional Oceania championship a reverse top eight of the finishers in Saturday’s race, it was former New Zealand Formula Ford champion Penrose on pole position with impressive Australian rookie Ryder Quinn alongside on the front row. Saturday pacesetters Morales, Wurz and Callum Hedge would start from sixth, seventh and eighth on the grid respectively.

Drivers all received a second set of tyres for the second qualifying session of the weekend on Sunday morning. They can then use what they like from the two set of tyres allocated for the qualifyings and races for the rest of the day and Penrose opted for the fresher set he had used in that second qualifying session.

It paid huge dividends for the Kiwi Motorsport’s 26-year-old racer as he controlled the race from the start, controlled it again after a restart when fellow Kiwi Liam Sceats hit the before building an unassailable lead. After not featuring on the first day, he said the win had given him huge momentum.

“Heading into today after yesterday I didn’t think it would be possible to win today but I got lucky with the starting position for this race but once I was there I just focussed on getting a good start and getting my head down and racing as hard as I could.

“I just got into a rhythm and I found that through the fast stuff everything just started to sync a lot better. I think being within half a second of my qualifying time during the race will give me the confidence moving forward that the speed is there once I’m in the rhythm.”

Behind Penrose, it was his teammate Jacob Abel who made the early running in second after a stand-off with Ryder Quinn at the start of the race. It was a messy first lap of the race too, with Lucas Fecury going off at the chicane. A lap later Liam Sceats went off at the chicane and skated straight across into the wall, causing enough damage to bring out the Safety Car. It robbed Penrose of a very handy lead but still left him ahead of Abel, Quinn, Wurz, David Morales, pace setter Callum Hedge, Chloe Chambers and the rest.

Penrose left his getaway at the restart very late indeed but he still managed to gain enough momentum to take the lead into the first chicane comfortably and after that he never looked back, regularly lapping half a second or more quicker than his rivals behind.

As the 18-lap race progressed and it entered its final stages after a relatively settled middle portion, the effect of used tyres began to become obvious and the field at the front closed up significantly while Penrose marched onwards at the front.

Hedge, who had looked locked in sixth with an impressive Chloe Chambers on his gearbox, was one of those who came alive as the laps ticked away as was Quinn, who mounted a sustained attack on Wurz to regain third place. Another on the move was Josh Mason, who passed Chambers for seventh with a nice move in Turn 9.

As Penrose drove away, Abel’s mirrors were full of not one but five or six cars as the race went into the final lap. Quinn made his move and got past Wurz and in the last few corners Hedge got alongside Morales but ran out of time to make his move stick.

At the flag it was a delighted Penrose, from Abel, Quinn, Wurz, Morales, Hedge, Mason, Chambers, Ryan Shehan – who had made a good recovery after starting at the back – and Tom McLennan completing the top ten. Post race, Mason was handed a five second penalty for not being in the correct position in his box on the grid.

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