Marton teenager Kaleb Ngatoa has claimed his first Hi-Q Components NZ Formula First Championship race win in dominant fashion, claiming the 2017/18 season opener ahead of Callum Crawley and Conrad Clark.
You could cut the tension with a cricket stump as the cars lined up on the grid for the opening race of the 2017/18 season. The lights seemed to take an eternity to go out, but once they did, all 18 Formula First racers got away cleanly.
After lengthy repairs from her qualifying incident Amy Smith, whose car was still being repaired on the dummy grid, made a cracking start to move up to third. Also making a good start was Kaleb Ngatoa, moving into the lead early on in the lap.
Drama then struck the pole sitter Chris Symon as his car slowed out of turn 5, bunching the field behind him and giving Ngatoa some breathing room. Symon would drop to the rear of the field due to a gear linkage failure but quickly moved by Craig Greenwood to finish 17th. Paul Butler also suffered a mechanical failure on the opening lap as his throttle pedal snapped off, forcing him to retire.
Two clear battle packs then emerged, Liam Foster, Conrad Clark, Reece Hendl-Cox, Callum Crawley and Amy Smith all fought for second, while Blake Evans, Billy Frazer, Bob Dillow, Taylor Hurst, Alex Hawley, Ian Foster and Louis Redshaw all ran nose to tail fighting for seventh.
Crawley would just pip Clark to the flag while Liam Foster secured his personal best result with fourth ahead of Hendl-Cox in fifth. Smith came home a close sixth.
Young Blake Evans topped his battle pack coming home seventh ahead of Frazer, Dillow, Hurst recording a solid top ten on debut. Hawley led home Foster and Redshaw in 11th, 12th and 13th respectively.