Charlie Wurz won the Formula Regional Oceania title with a lights-to-flag victory in the final race at Taupo.
The gap between Wurz and title rival Callum Hedge was reduced to three points pre-race by Josh Mason get a 30-second penalty and a two-point deduction for causing a crash in the penultimate race, and Hedge started fifth on the grid for the finale.
A jumped start by Liam Sceats meant he was able to pressure Wurz through lap one until Laurens van Hoepen passed him for second, and Hedge got into fourth on lap two by passing Kaleb Ngatoa on the inside of the chicane.
He was seven seconds behind the leader after seven laps though, and needed to beat him on track to overhaul him in the title race, with van Hoepen keeping Wurz on his toes up front.
As the race approached halfway point it moved further into Wurz’s favour, as van Hoepen started to struggle with his front tyres and light rain arriving made track conditions unpredictable.
Wurz’s lead surpassed a second on lap 10, but Hedge was now closing in the top three and six laps later there was now 3.2s between the top two but 5.1s between first and fourth.
That gap then slimmed down to almost nothing as Adam Fitzgerald crashed into Ryder Quinn while trying to pass him and it led to the safety car being called out for two laps.
Hedge did not end up profiting from it though, as the charging James Penrose – who had started 12th – passed him before they’d even crossed the line at the restart.
Penrose also cleared Sceats on the restart lap, and Hedge got by him a lap later, but it would have no impact on the title fight as Wurz pulled away again in the worsening rain to win the race and the championship.
Van Hoepen and Penrose completed the podium, with Hedge fourth and Sceats fifth despite a five-second penalty for his jumped start.
Race results (23 laps)
|1||Charlie Wurz||M2 Competition||34m55.160s|
|2||Laurens van Hoepen||M2 Competition||+1.042s|
|3||James Penrose||Kiwi Motorsport||+2.142s|
|4||Callum Hedge||M2 Competition||+2.848s|
|5||Liam Sceats||M2 Competition||+8.828s|
|6||Jacob Abel||Kiwi Motorsport||+9.137s|
|7||Tom McLennan||Kiwi Motorsport||+9.710s|
|8||Chloe Chambers||Giles Motorsport||+10.222s|
|9||Kaleb Ngatoa||Giles Motorsport||+11.097s|
|10||David Morales||M2 Competition||+11.722s|
|11||Ryan Shehan||Giles Motorsport||+12.194s|
|12||Bree Morris||Giles Motorsport||+12.338s|
|13||Ryder Quinn||M2 Competition||+13.059s|
|14||Lucas Fecury||Kiwi Motorsport||+19.423s|
|15||Louis Foster||Giles Motorsport||+43.366s|
|16||Josh Mason||Kiwi Motorsport||+1 lap|
|17||Adam Fitzgerald||Giles Motorsport||+1 lap|
|Fastest lap: Morales, 1m25.304s