Home Formula RegionalFRegional Oceania Wurz tops FRegional Oceania practice, late arrival Foster gets extra tests

Wurz tops FRegional Oceania practice, late arrival Foster gets extra tests

by Ida Wood

Photo: TGR NZ

Formula Regional Oceania conducted three free practice sessions at Manfeild on Friday, and also ran two test sessions exclusively for Louis Foster.

The reigning USF Pro 2000 champion, who is making his FRegional debut this weekend, missed the two pre-event test sessions on Thursday and also missed FP1 on Friday.

Toyota Gazoo Racing New Zealand, who run FRegional Oceania, explained to Formula Scout that Foster – whose entry into the series was only confirmed on Thursday – had been waiting to get access to his passport (as it was being used to get his USA visa for 2023) and as a result he missed the first two rounds of the season.

By the time he got his passport back, Foster could only fly to New Zealand overnight in time to reach Manfeild this Friday morning and with no seat fitting for his car.

“Because this weekend we have some freedom in terms of schedule for Friday, we were able to schedule sessions for him to recover the missed ones yesterday,” said TGR NZ’s motorsport manager Nicolas Caillol.

The first ‘shakedown’ session to feature Foster running solo on track was scheduled for 20 minutes, with a follow-up ‘test’ session lasting 25 minutes. Foster added to Formula Scout that the series’ decisions “are helping me catch up”.

He took nine laps before setting a 1m04.528s in his shakedown running, which would have put him in ninth place in FP1.

His Giles Motorsport team-mate Ryan Shehan set the pace in that session, where the top four was split by less than a tenth of a second. Shehan’s 1m04.063s lap put him just 0.028s ahead of Billy Frazer, who along with Giles duo Adam Fitzgerand and Foster is¬†another new addition to the entry list.

Frazer’s car will be operated this weekend out of Kiwi Motorsport’s garage, but it will be entered by series newcomer Hamilton Motorsport.

Josh Mason and James Penrose, both Kiwi Motorsport drivers, were third and fourth fastest in FP1.

All 16 drivers were on track for FP2, and points leader Charlie Wurz – who was ninth in FP1 – became the first driver to lap sub-1m40s. He was fastest in the session by 0.365s ahead of M2 Competition team-mate Liam Sceats.

Callum Hedge made it an M2 1-2-3, with Mason and Foster in fourth and fifth. The top three, Foster, Jacob Abel and David Morales were the only drivers to improve on the pace they had set in their first session.

Rain arrived between Foster’s test and FP3, and the debuting Brit ended up being the fastest in the wet conditions. Laptimes were several seconds slower than earlier in the day, and Foster was fastest by 0.312s over Hedge. Wurz was a further 0.088s back, while the rest of the field were over 1.2s behind.

Free practice [+Foster sessions] results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Charlie Wurz M2 Competition 1m03.845s 52
2 Ryan Shehan Giles Motorsport 1m04.063s +0.218s 65
3 Billy Frazer Hamilton Motorsport 1m04.091s +0.246s 56
4 Josh Mason Kiwi Motorsport 1m04.127s +0.282s 56
5 James Penrose Kiwi Motorsport 1m04.130s +0.285s 53
6 Chloe Chambers Giles Motorsport 1m04.188s +0.343s 63
7 Liam Sceats M2 Competition 1m04.210s +0.365s 56
8 Callum Hedge M2 Competition 1m04.225s +0.380s 48
9 Adam Fitzgerald Giles Motorsport 1m04.235s +0.390s 52
10 Ryder Quinn M2 Competition 1m04.267s +0.422s 64
11 Tom McLennan Kiwi Motorsport 1m04.371s +0.526s 63
12 Louis Foster Giles Motorsport 1m04.373s +0.528s 71
13 David Morales M2 Competition 1m04.491s +0.646s 58
14 Jacob Abel Kiwi Motorsport 1m04.509s +0.664s 53
15 Lucas Fecury Kiwi Motorsport 1m04.655s +0.810s 57
16 Bree Morris Giles Motorsport 1m05.109s +1.264s 56