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Ngatoa wins his first race back in Formula Regional Oceania

by Peter Allen

Photo: TGR NZ

Kaleb Ngatoa won on his first Formula Regional Oceania start for nearly two years after a fast getaway in race one at Hampton Downs.

Starting from the outside of the front row alongside series debutant Laurens van Hoepen, Ngatoa got a great launch to lead comfortably into the first corner.

Ngatoa’s advantage was soon above one second, and although van Hoepen closed back in during the second half of the race, the Giles Motorsport driver was able to respond.

There was a slight scare on the last lap when Ngatoa’s car twitched under braking for the downhill Dipper hairpin when van Hoepen showed his nose to the inside, but the 2021 Toyota Racing Series runner-up was able to hold on.

Callum Hedge ran a lonely third throughout to retake the championship lead by three points over Charlie Wurz, who had a challenging drive to eighth.

The inexperienced Adam Fitzgerald, in only his second weekend in FRegional, held off race-long attention from Kiwi racing veteran Chris van der Drift to finish fourth.

Louis Foster was running ahead of Fitzgerald in fourth early on but was battling a clutch issue that caused him to slip down the order before retiring.

Another returnee Brendon Leitch took sixth ahead of Jacob Abel, with Wurz just holding off Ryder Quinn for eighth. Wurz had fallen from seventh to 10th on the first lap, and then had a big lock up when he tried to dive down the inside of the struggling Foster at the Dipper on lap four.

From sixth on the grid, Liam Sceats was challenging Hedge for third in the early corners but found himself shuffled back to ninth by the end of lap two, and finished up 11th behind David Morales.

Race results (20 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Kaleb Ngatoa Giles Motorsport 30m25.164s
2 Laurens van Hoepen M2 Competition +0.727s
3 Callum Hedge M2 Competition +7.706s
4 Adam Fitzgerald Giles Motorsport +15.847s
5 Chris van der Drift Hamilton Motorsport +17.123s
6 Brendon Leitch Kiwi Motorsport +18.871s
7 Jacob Abel Kiwi Motorsport +20.341s
8 Charlie Wurz M2 Competition +22.284s
9 Ryder Quinn M2 Competition +22.474s
10 David Morales M2 Competition +24.218s
11 Liam Sceats M2 Competition +26.153s
12 Ryan Shehan Giles Motorsport +26.898s
13 Josh Mason Kiwi Motorsport +36.834s
14 Billy Frazer Hamilton Motorsport +40.620s
15 James Penrose Kiwi Motorsport +41.112s
16 Chloe Chambers Giles Motorsport +41.315s
17 Bree Morris Giles Motorsport +42.112s
18 Lucas Fecury Kiwi Motorsport +44.013s
Ret Louis Foster Giles Motorsport
Fastest lap: Ngatoa, 1m30.229s

Championship standings
Hedge 233   2 Wurz 230   3 Abel 202   4 Penrose 166   5 Morales 155  6 Sceats 155   7 Quinn 155   8 Mason 144   9 Shehan 134   10 Chambers 116