Round 4: Manfeild Preview

Whakatane’s Reece Hendl-Cox, 17, has taken control of the 2018/19 Hi-Q Components NZ Formula First Championship after clean sweeping round three at Hampton Downs a fortnight ago. Hendl-Cox convincingly won all three races at the Waikato circuit ahead of Palmerston North’s Chris Symon, 28, who finished second in each race. Symon, who suffered another engine failure during a private test leading up to Hampton Downs was competing in Brody McConkey’s car after a replacement engine was unable to be arranged in time.

Hendl-Cox leads the NZ Formula First Championship by 21 points now over Symon who held a small 3-point advantage heading into the previous round. Auckland teen Billy Frazer, 15, sits third in the championship, 108-points from the lead, having collected a podium finish at Hampton Downs. Aucklander’s Liam Foster, 22, and Amy Smith, 17, sit fourth and fifth in the standings respectively.

There’s been a change in the highly sought after rookie of the year title, 15-year-old Taranaki teen Thomas Boniface who finished third for the round at Hampton Downs has jumped ahead of SpeedSport Scholarship driver Ronan Murphy, 17, by 14-points. The rookie duo sits sixth and seventh in the overall championship. 

At the opposite end of the scale, our ‘Sunset’ driver championship for drivers over the age of 40 is lead by Papamoa’s Ron Carter, sitting eighth overall and 105-points ahead of nearest rival Dave Scammell who sits 12th. 

The focus shifts now to Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon for round four of the championship this weekend. Manfeild often referred to as the traditional home of Formula First racing in New Zealand never fails to deliver exciting, dynamic and action-packed racing. This time last year at the 2018 New Zealand Grand Prix event the Saturday afternoon race was the highlight of the weekend for fans, with over 70 passes in just eight laps and 200 passes across all three races on the weekend. Expect some more incredibly close racing produced from the 1200cc Air-cooled VW powered junior formula category.

It will be the second stop at Manfeild for Formula First this season after the Manawatu circuit hosted the opening round back in October. Back then it was Chris Symon who took the rest of the field to school, taking pole position and all three races to make his championship intentions clear from the get-go. Now series leader Hendl-Cox failed to fire at the season opener, scoring just one podium finish and ending the round fourth overall. 

While there is no clear form guide for the weekend, Chris Symon will be the hot favourite with a fresh engine in hand and an impeccable record at the circuit, he will be looking to take back the championship lead from Hendl-Cox.

Live video coverage of the weekends racing will be available via a Live Stream along with Formula First TV which will be active across the weekend, with a weekend preview coming Friday night and interviews with our race winners over the weekend. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for updates over the weekend!

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