Chris Symon has started his season in the 2020-21 Hi-Q Components NZ Formula First Championship with a near-perfect way, taking pole position and two race wins in the opening round at Manfeild.
The Palmerston North school teacher was just 0.169s from the perfect clean sweep after finishing in second place in race two. His nearest rival, Liam Foster, struck trouble in the first race and finished in sixth place, giving Symon an early opportunity to take away a points advantage. Despite Foster taking the second race of the weekend, Symon still came away with a 30-point lead in the championship over Foster and a further 22-points ahead of third-placed Zach Blincoe.
Blincoe, who is in his debut season of Formula First showed huge promise in his first outing. The Auckland teen finished on the podium twice, beating out experienced competitors such as former champion Craig Greenwood.
Although Greenwood isn’t too far behind Blincoe in the points overall, just eight shy of the rookie. Even closer than the gap between third and fourth is that between fourth and fifth, Leo Scott, fifth, sits just one point adrift of the fourth-placed Greenwood.
Even after just one round, it is becoming clear that the racing will be dynamic and intense once again, with battles up and the down the entire field. Adding to the intensity is the quick turn around between the opening round and round two.
Having just completed the Manfeild event, competitors will now start the move north to Hampton Downs for this weekend’s Speed Works run event. For many of the rookie drivers, it will be their first time at the circuit and with limited practice on Friday quick learning is a must if they want to continue to carry their form from Manfeild.
At the pointy end of the field, Symon holds the upper hand at Hampton Downs over Foster, based on past form at the circuit, and will be looking to continue that to extend his early championship lead.
In the coveted rookie of the year battle, it is Zach Blincoe who holds a clear advantage after round one. He showed he has the brains and the bravery to tough it out at the front. Blincoe will now have a target on his back, not just from his fellow rookies but also from seasoned competitors vying for podium positions.
Hampton Downs will also see an addition to the field with Amy Smith returning to race after being unable to compete in the opening round.
Expect to see some exciting, dynamic and action-packed battles happening throughout the entire field. It’s standard for the 1200cc air-cooled VW power cars to go three-wide into and through turn one. The cars will then form a Formula First freight train down the main straight before fanning out to cross the line four-wide.