Wurz breaks duck to become fourth race winner in CTFROC
A great start to out-drag pole position holder Callum Hedge was the springboard Austrian Charlie Wurz needed to take his first win in the Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship.
Wurz was the leader on points heading into the second weekend of the five-round championship at the iconic Teretonga Park circuit just outside of Invercargill in New Zealand’s deep south and extended that lead with his maiden victory.
It all came down to a great start by Wurz as he went around Hedge on the outside of the first corner, held his ground and lined up for the inside of turn two. There was nothing Hedge could do and it was immediately advantage to Wurz.
Once away from the start, the two leaders built a huge lead on the chasing pack and the gap between the two ebbed and flowed continuously at a track where passing is notoriously difficult. At one stage Hedge had narrowed the gap to under half a second but getting past was a different matter and Wurz made no mistakes and gave him no opportunities to make the pass.
The son of former F1 racer Alex Wurz was delighted to take his first win and become the fourth different winner in four races in the New Zealand championship.
“We got the start we wanted, and finally we got Callum at the start,” he said. “The track was a little less grippy than in testing so I wasn’t sure going into the start if I could get a good one. Luckily I did and after that it was all about managing my pace. My mirrors were full of Callum and his car throughout the race after that. I am happy to win and am looking forward to maintaining this momentum.
“It’s difficult to pass here so I’m going to need another good start whatever tomorrow morning in the reverse grid race to make up as many places as possible.”
Behind the leaders, Jacob Abel finished where he started in third but had plenty of work to do – particularly in the latter stages of the race – to stop charging Brit Josh Mason from getting passed. The Kiwi motorsport driver though, managed to hold on to take the final spot on the podium. Mason would have to settle for fourth.
Behind the top four there was plenty of speed but not a lot of action as the high-speed train of James Penrose, David Morales, Liam Sceats, Ryde Quinn and Ryan Shehan gave chase. It was a bit more challenging for Morales, however, who had to work hard throughout the race to fend off a charging Sceats. Liam, like many, was unable to push the American into the mistake he would need to have a chance to pass.
Further back there was another battle between Chloe Chambers and Tom McLennan who traded places in a good scrap before Chambers made a pass stick.
At the flag it was a delighted Wurz, from Hedge, Abel, Mason, Penrose, Morales, Sceats, Quinn, Shehan and Chambers. A post-race penalty for Morales for a grid infringement dropped him to ninth in the overall results, however.