Bramwell King has closed Arran Crighton’s championship lead to a narrow 16 points following his dominant performance at Hampton Downs for round three of the Hi-Q Components NZ Formula First Championship.
King kicked off his 2017 campaign with a pole position, while Matt Podjursky, only 0.054s slower, started alongside him on second, with series leader Arran Crighton third.
A good start by King in the first race saw him lead Podjursky for the majority of the first lap until the latter lined up a draft along the home straight. However, once Podjursky pulled out to pass, his engine cover came loose and flew off the car and onto the edge of the track. While it was lucky that it did not collect anyone, Podjursky was unlucky as his car was creating a bigger draft for the car behind him making him a sitting duck.
Arran Crighton sat third behind Podjursky for the majority of the race until his last lap pass, while Chris Symon circulated in fourth and Reece Hendl-Cox recorded another solid fifth position.
The Sabre Motorsport duo of Dylan Smith and Callum Crawley got as close as you will ever see coming across the line. Crawley snuck up on the outside of Smith, almost ending up in the grass, but it was not enough to grab a top ten as Smith went on to claim the position.
Another great start by King in race two saw him lead Matt Podjursky and Arran Crighton on the opening lap until Podjursky got by King using his draft along the home straight.
Crighton then started to fall back and into the reach of Reece Hendi-Cox and Chris Symon and eventually got passed and dropped back to fifth on the third lap. The series leader then recovered a spot to sit fourth in front of Chris Symon of the remainder of the race.
Hendl-Cox, currently leading the rookie championship, took advantage of King and Podjursky’s tussle for the lead and closed right up behind the pair. While he was unable to take the win he had to settle for third after a drag race to the line with Podjursky.
Liam Foster’s challenge for a top five was restricted when a piece of his bodywork came loose and interfered with his straight line pace. Kaleb Ngatoa was too far back to take advantage of Foster’s misfortune and finished a distant seventh.
Chris Symon started off pole alongside Reece Hendi-Cox for the final race of the weekend.
Hendl-Cox got too good of a start and subsequently received a five-second penalty. However, Symon took full advantage of his pole position and took the lead ahead of King and Podjursky.
Podjursky soon took over the lead on the second lap ahead of King and Hendl-Cox as the remainder of the top seven joined on the back of the rookie to form a seven car race for the lead.
Kaleb Ngatoa and Liam Foster, sitting sixth and seventh at the time, soon started to fall back after they took their battle to another level on lap five.
Dylan Smith was on for another strong result until the teenager had an unfortunate spin at the dipper on lap four. The SpeedSport Scholarship driver recovered to 15th after having to wait for the entire field to drive past him and more.
Ian Foster and Alex Hawley engaged in a battle in the later part of the race fighting for ninth position. Foster would prove the victor once the chequered flag was waved taking ninth, Hawley recording a solid top ten result.
Podjursky’s string of podiums moved him up to third in the points, 74 points from Crighton, while Chris Symon dropped to fourth. Reece Hendl-Cox held on to his top five spot and extended his rookie championship lead over sixth placed Kaleb Ngatoa to 67 points.
Round 4 for the Hi-Q Components NZ Formula First Championship takes place this weekend (February 4-5) at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park as part of the SpeedWorks Motorsport Championship.