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Manfeild marks turning point in race championship

This weekend’s 28-29 January round of Super Sprint MotorSport New Zealand Championship racing moves to the North Island location of Feilding and the iconic Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon.

The third of five consecutive weekends of competiton for the Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship (CTFROC), it will be another new venue for most of the now 16-car field.

Two more internationals and an ex-pat Kiwi will join the grid for this weekend’s event. With ages ranging from 17 to Christchurch’s 27-year-old James Penrose, 13 of the field are under-20.

It’s also a return of international drivers to Manfeild – local to Palmerston North’s headquartered Toyota New Zealand. Favoured for its cambered turns and numerous overtaking opportunities, its design was overseen by local racing driver Chris Amon – with the circuit now bearing his name.

Attempting to follow in his foot-steps, multiple drivers in the 2023 series have claimed race wins as the series rounds the half-way mark this weekend.

Currently led by 17-year-old Austrian Charlie Wurz, he holds a 25 point advantage. Second and tied with Wurz on race wins, is Kiwi Callum Hedge. While Wurz showed he is hard to pass at last weekend’s Invercargill event – this weekend could be a turning point for the young Austrian.

Adding to the weekend are three local categories – the ‘gentlemanly’ 15 car field of HVRA Historic Saloons, 16 Mazda Hankook MX5 Cup cars and 22 in the Chocolate Fish Saloon series. Included is now Nelson based Hawke’s Bay bred and multiple NZV8 champion John McIntyre – racing his dad’s MK1 Ford Escort.

“The chocolate fish sponsor is SAFEngineering’s Nick Stewart,” said Manawatu Car Club representative Jeff Braid.

“All winners in all classes, including the CTFROC drivers, will get a chocolate fish!”

Each category will have qualifying and a race on Saturday with Sunday featuring two races for each.

Race coverage will be live-streamed on the Saturday with Sky Sport 5, Fox Sports Australia, and Pasifika TV broadcasting the Sunday racing live. TV3 will again show the afternoon race action from 1pm Sunday.

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