This Easter Sunday it will be an NZ Formula First Championship rather than chocolate eggs that our series leaders will be hunting at Pukekohe Park Raceway. Just 69 points separate the top three and there are still 225 points on offer which leaves the title fight wide open, but who does the advantage lie with?
First, let’s look at the points situations. Kaleb Ngatoa leads the way with 1237 points and 26 points behind him is Callum Crawley with 1211 points while Liam Foster, 1168 points, sits in third 43 points from Crawley and 69 points from Ngatoa.
None of the three can be mathematically eliminated from the hunt after Saturday’s race and no one can wrap it up after Saturday’s proceedings either, meaning the fight will go down to last day of the season!
Track history: Only one of the three drivers have ever driven the circuit before which leaves a small advantage with Liam Foster, however since last visiting the circuit Foster has changed cars and the track has been resurfaced in areas.
Average Starting Position: A good starting position on the grid is critical to taking advantage of the front pack drafting that will be most evident at Pukekohe. The average starting position advantage lies with Ngatoa, with an average start of 3.57 while Crawley sits with 5.29 and Foster not far behind with 5.90.
Average Finishing Position: There is no clear advantage with any driver, each within 0.41 positions of each other. Ngatoa has an average finishing position of 3.30 while Foster’s number is 3.50 and Crawley’s 3.71.
Reliability: Both Ngatoa and Foster have suffered a retirement during their campaigns, and while Crawley hasn’t recorded a DNF, he did suffer a mechanical issue in the last race which saw him limp home to finish down the order.
Who will win? It’s anyone’s title! Ngatoa does carry a small advantage both in terms of points and possibly performance but Foster has experience both in the class and at the track, meanwhile Crawley reliability on his side. While Ngatoa’s still has a big job cut out for him, provided and he beats Crawley in one race and finishes just one spot behind him in the other two he will be crowned Champion.