Mighty Hedge wins race two at Teretonga
Callum Hedge pulled off a remarkable victory in Teretonga’s second race to reignite his challenge in the 2023 Castrol Toyota Formula Oceania Championship.
The New Zealander – starting from seventh on the reverse format grid from Saturday’s results – read conditions on and off the track perfectly as he raced through the field and on to a six second win at the Invercargill track.
With series leader and rival Charlie Wurz finishing in fourth, the win allowed Hedge to reduce the gap to the top of the championship table. With the drying conditions, tyre choice was left to the drivers but everyone opted for the full Hankook wet, a tyre known for its durability in drying conditions.
The race brought drying conditions in the early laps, then returned to wet in the later laps, but Hedge mastered the challenge.
“I had my work cut out for me but when the track started to dry I knew that was my moment to push and that was also when I was faster than the other cars so it was either a win it or bin it moment to be honest,” he said on the podium afterwards. And he had come close to binning it after he was pushed onto the wet grass on the exit of turn one in the early stages as he tried to pass a robust Jacob Abel.
“I came around the outside and I did get run off into the weeds which was fine but I did then decide to get a bit more aggressive and get the move done.
“It was definitely a difficult race. At the start I was on the radio saying we might need slicks and in the first half of the race we did need slicks but then in the second half of the race we needed wets. It was up and down but I’m stoked for the team.”
Behind him Ryan Shehan and Ryder Quinn – who had started on the front row having finished seventh and eighth on Saturday – drove very well to maintain those positions in the tricky conditions and take their best results so far in the 2023 championship, Quinn particularly doing well in the final stages to fend off a charging Wurz.
Liam Sceats was there or thereabouts throughout and came home for another solid result in the top five, while Abel managed to hang on to sixth and fend off James Penrose, who fell away in the first half of the race but bounced back in the much wetter conditions later on.
Josh Mason avoided the dramas for eighth, while Chloe Chambers recovered well from a poor start and came home for another top ten result in ninth, ahead of Brazilian Lucas Fecury who stayed out of trouble to record his first top ten result in New Zealand.
Elsewhere the race didn’t go well for David Morales, a continuation of a weekend in stark contrast to his Highlands highs. He didn’t even complete a lap having been turned at the final corner which left his left rear suspension broken and a trip to the pit lane for early retirement.