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Perfect start for Paterson in South Island Formula 1600 Championship

Christchurch’s Bailey Paterson (Van Diemen Stealth) had the perfect start to the seven-round 2019/20 South Island Formula 1600 Championship with fastest qualifying lap and three race wins. The Mike Pero Motorsport Park in Christchurch hosted the first round with 20 cars taking to the grid for three races at the one-day Canterbury Car Club meeting.

Second overall for the round was Cameron Freeman (Van Diemen RF92) ahead of rookie driver Zac Christensen (Van Diemen RF92). Freeman finished second in the first two races and managed fifth with a gearbox issue in the final 12-lap feature race.

“That was pretty good,” commented Paterson. “We had a new head put on the engine after the Pukekohe Supercars round and another carburettor, so the engine has gone really well. Once I got into a rhythm I was able to drive away. I do expect more competition heading to the next round at Timaru, so it should be good.”

Paterson had competed at the opening round of the NZ Formula Ford Championship at Pukekohe Park Raceway in September but has now elected to compete in the South Island series.

While Paterson was able to control each race, there was plenty of action throughout the field with some drivers dealing with technical and setup issues while others were involved with racing incidents or just trying too hard.

Rookie driver Zac Christensen was one to shine at the round taking his first podium after finishing second in race three.

“I had a good start and was able to make up a few places when several in front of me went off the track,” commented Christensen. Fresh out of kartsport, Christensen gained valuable experience over the winter competing in the North Island Formula First Winter Series.

“That helped me so much with learning race car skills, particularly with draughting behind cars.”

Despite a did-not-finish (DNF) in the opening race, Steve Donaldson (Van Diemen RF90) came home strong in the final two races with two third places. Also in the mix was Jack Noble-Adams (Van Diemen Stealth) who managed to finish each race in the top five while contending with under steer in the car.

Also new to the class were rookie drivers Ryan Low in the Van Diemen RF88 scholarship car and Oscar Noble-Adams driving a Van Diemen RF90. Low now leads the Historic Class 3 while Noble-Adams is eighth in Class 2 which is led by Paterson from Freeman and Christensen.

Two Class 1 cars competed with Steve Edwards (Mygale SJ08) now leading Grant Campbell (VD RF03).

The series now heads to Timaru International Raceway on 9 November for the second round. More drivers are expected to join the grid including the return of James Penrose who is currently leading the NZ Formula Ford Championship after two rounds.

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