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Chloe Chambers becomes first woman to win in FRegional Oceania

by Ida Wood

Photo: TGR NZ

Giles Motorsport’s Chloe Chambers became the first woman to win in Formula Regional Oceania in the penultimate race of the season.

Chambers started on reversed-grid pole and held off an attack from Kaleb Ngatoa through turn three on the opening lap before the top two then concentrated on breaking away from a queue of cars sitting behind Charlie Wurz in third.

Ngatoa stuck his nose in at the chicane on lap three, but by lap eight of 18 had fallen a second behind Chambers and by the finish was 1.582s back after dropping a big chunk of time on lap 13.

“Definitely feels really good, it’s my first win in cars as well. To get it here after everything this season [is special],” said Chambers after victory, adding to finally claim her first single-seater win was “super important to me”.

The previous best results from women in the series were a podium achieved by Christina Orr in 2006 and a fifth place finish for Tatiana Calderon in 2013.

Wurz held on to third until the finish, and he said “I think I destroyed the tyres a bit yesterday [in race one] so it was a tough race”.

That showed as the top two were usually half a second a lap faster than him, and he had to be careful with his car positioning to keep Ryan Shehan, Josh Mason, Laurens van Hoepen, Liam Sceats, Callum Hedge, Louis Foster and Jacob Abel behind.

The order in the top 10 went unchanged from lap two to lap 15, when Abel lost 10th place to Ryder Quinn, then on the final lap there was drama as Josh Mason locked up at the turn 11 hairpin and ploughed into Shehan, spinning him off the track.

Van Hoepen inherited fourth, and provisionally Mason finishes fifth ahead of Sceats, Hedge and Foster. That means Wurz moves past Hedge by four points into the championship lead ahead of the title-deciding race, but if Mason is penalised it could bring the top two closer.

The only retirement from the race was Lucas Fecury, who had a mid-race off and later retired in the pits with suspected suspension trouble.

Race results (18 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Chloe Chambers Giles Motorsport 26m00.239s
2 Kaleb Ngatoa Giles Motorsport +1.582s
3 Charlie Wurz M2 Competition +11.799s
4 Laurens van Hoepen M2 Competition +13.627s
5 Josh Mason Kiwi Motorsport +14.244s
6 Liam Sceats M2 Competition +14.440s
7 Callum Hedge M2 Competition +14.761s
8 Louis Foster Giles Motorsport +15.606s
9 Ryder Quinn M2 Competition +16.115s
10 Jacob Abel Kiwi Motorsport +16.558s
11 James Penrose Kiwi Motorsport +25.366s
12 Adam Fitzgerald Giles Motorsport +27.698s
13 Tom McLennan Kiwi Motorsport +28.030s
14 David Morales M2 Competition +28.766s
15 Bree Morris Giles Motorsport +28.973s
16 Ryan Shehan Giles Motorsport +48.237s
Ret Lucas Fecury Kiwi Motorsport
Fastest lap: Chambers, 1m25.672s

Championship standings
Wurz 308   2 Hedge 304   3 Abel 244   4 Sceats 221   5 Mason 192   6 Quinn 190   7 Morales 187   8 Penrose 186   9 Shehan 163   10 Chambers 160