Marton teenager Kaleb Ngatoa has kicked off his 2017/18 Hi-Q Components NZ Formula First Championship campaign in an almost perfect fashion, taking two wins and establishing the championship lead.
Ngatoa's weekend started off qualifying on the front row, setting the second fastest time behind Chris Symon. While Symon's weekend started off with pole, his qualifying session was not ideal after he was involved in an incident with Amy Smith in the final few moments of qualifying.
It got worse for Symon as the repairs to his car following the crash were performed under pressure and a minor detail was overlooked which caused a gear selector issue on the opening lap of race one. The drama kept Symon's car in fourth gear, severely slowing him down for the remainder of the race.
Drama for the leader allowed Ngatoa to slot into the lead of the race, where he quickly built up a gap to the battle pack behind him. Liam Foster, Conrad Clark, Reece Hendl-Cox, Callum Crawley and Amy Smith all fought for second. At the line, Crawley would just pip Clark while Liam Foster secured his personal best result with fourth.
It was déjà vu for Symon in race two, the school teacher's race was hampered by a similar issue, this time he was unable to select fourth gear. This saw a front-running pack surface with Hendl-Cox, Crawley, Clark, Liam Foster and Kaleb Ngatoa all vying for the lead of the race. Crawley quickly established himself as the man to beat while Clark fell off the pack and into the Amy Smith – Bob Dillow battle.
Both Ngatoa and Liam Foster would briefly hold the lead in the final laps but it was Crawley who proved victorious over L.Foster. Ngatoa backed up his win in race one with third, while Hendl-Cox came across the line fourth.
From the outset in race three, two packs emerged again, however, on lap two congestion into splash allowed Ngatoa to break away from the field leaving Chris Symon, Callum Crawley, Liam Foster and Reece Hendl-Cox to fight for second. Liam Foster would finish second, ahead of Chris Symon in fifth who got a finally got a trouble-free session this weekend.
Ngatoa would take the win and subsequently the championship lead while Liam Foster would finish second, ahead of Chris Symon in fifth who got a finally got a trouble-free session this weekend.
Callum Crawley trails Ngatoa by just eight points in the championship with Liam Foster sitting 35 points behind in third. Round highlights can be viewed at www.formulafirst.co.nz/tv
2017/18 NZ Formula First Championship Calendar:
Round 1: Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon - 20-22 October 2017
Round 2: Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park - 17-19 November 2017
Round 3: Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park - 1-3 December 2017
Round 4: Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park - 2-4 February 2018
Round 5: Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon - 9-11 February 2018
Round 6: Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon - 23-25 February 2018
Round 7: Hampton Downs Motorsport Park - 9-11 March 2018
Round 8: Pukekohe Park Raceway - 30 March - 1 April 2018
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