Callum Hedge pipped Louis Foster to pole for the first Formula Regional Oceania race of the weekend at Taupo.
Pole puts Hedge in a good position in terms of the title fight as his main rival Charlie Wurz was only able to qualify fifth.
Laurens van Hoepen was fastest after the first flying laps had been set, then Foster went fastest by just 0.086 seconds over Kaleb Ngatoa.
Foster’s next lap put him 0.3s clear of van Hoepen, but Wurz then cut the gap to pole down to 0.05s with his fourth lap.
Hedge also got his tyres in the sweet spot for lap four of his qualifying run, and he moved into provisional pole position by 0.006s.
But when Foster crossed the line he returned to first place, by a slim 0.065s.
Both he and Hedge were able to improve further, with the gap decreasing to 0.061s, while Chloe Chambers and then van Hoepen had an off.
M2 Competition had “tried something” on van Hoepen’s car “which didn’t work, which I think compromised the whole run”, revealed the Dutchman.
It involved braking later and having different gearing for the corner of his off, and it only resulted in his car then swalling a lot of dirt from the run-off.
While it removed him from pole contention, he at least had more luck than Kiwi Motorsport’s James Penrose who was unable to set even a single timed lap due to gear selection problems. His team spent most of qualifying working at the rear of his car on the issue.
Going into the final minutes of qualifying, Hedge came to the fore as he set a 1m24.476s lap to go 0.078s ahead of Foster.
A final-lap improvement from Foster wasn’t enough, as he was 0.021s slower than Hedge who credited “some pretty significant changes to the car” since practice for being able to qualify at the front.
Van Hoepen found no further pace and qualified third, while an improvement at the very end from Liam Sceats put him fourth and knocked points leader Wurz down to fifth.
|1||Callum Hedge||M2 Competition||1m24.476s||9|
|2||Louis Foster||Giles Motorsport||1m24.497s||+0.021s||9|
|3||Laurens van Hoepen||M2 Competition||1m24.686s||+0.210s||9|
|4||Liam Sceats||M2 Competition||1m24.908s||+0.432s||9|
|5||Charlie Wuz||M2 Competition||1m24.931s||+0.455s||9|
|6||Kaleb Ngatoa||Giles Motorsport||1m24.983s||+0.507s||9|
|7||David Morales||M2 Competition||1m25.170s||+0.694s||9|
|8||Jacob Abel||Kiwi Motorsport||1m25.294s||+0.818s||8|
|9||Josh Mason||Kiwi Motorsport||1m25.330s||+0.854s||8|
|10||Chloe Chambers||Giles Motorsport||1m25.564s||+1.088s||8|
|11||Ryder Quinn||M2 Competition||1m25.621s||+1.145s||9|
|12||Ryan Shehan||Giles Motorsport||1m25.649s||+1.173s||9|
|13||Adam Fitzgerald||Giles Motorsport||1m25.661s||+1.185s||9|
|14||Tom McLennan||Kiwi Motorsport||1m26.114s||+1.638s||8|
|15||Lucas Fecury||Kiwi Motorsport||1m26.225s||+1.749s||8|
|16||Bree Morris||Giles Motorsport||1m26.899s||+2.423s||9|
|17||James Penrose||Kiwi Motorsport||no time||0|