Quick Callum sets early pace at Highlands Motorsport Park

Callum HIghlands (940 x 450)

New Zealand's new-look Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship took to the track for the official session today, with local favourite Callum Hedge topping the day's testing times as practice for Round 1 of the 2023 Championship got underway at Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell.

In the first of three practice sessions, Hedge and Austrian Charlie Wurz traded times for much of the 30 minutes with Ryder Quinn a consistent third just a few tenths in arrears. That was until the dying moments when the impressive Australian pipped both with a lap in the low 1 minute 29 second bracket. He ended the session narrowly ahead of Kiwi Formula Ford graduate Liam Sceats who was another to leave his best run to late in the session.

Americans Jacob Abel and David Morales were also in solid form early in the day and ran in the top five or six during morning practice. The first session of the season, however, unfortunately endured the first stoppage of the season. Britain's Josh Mason went off at one of the circuit’s very challenging corners, causing significant damage to the right rear of the car and the floor, giving his mechanics at Kiwi Motorsport plenty of work to do before the second session of the day.

In the second of the day's three 30 minute sessions in hot but breezy conditions it was Hedge who topped the order, putting in the fastest lap of the day with just over ten minutes of the session remaining. He hustled his car around in 1 minute 29.192, two and a half tenths up on Abel. That would stand as the day’s best.

Wurz and Morales were next up on the timesheets with just under half a second separating the top five. Quinn and New Zealand Formula Ford graduate Liam Sceats then joined the party with laps well into the 1 minute 29 second bracket. With three minutes to go Wurz - son of former F1 racer Alexander Wurz - put in his best lap of the session to leapfrog Quinn and go second quickest.

Josh Mason was the surprise of the third and final session of the day, coming back from his very challenging morning to post the fastest time ahead of Wurz, Sceats, Hedge and Quinn. Further back, W Series regular Chloe Chambers clocked tenth fastest time.

The business end of the first round gets underway on Saturday with qualifying and the first race in the afternoon and then another qualifying session and two races, including the weekend's feature race, on Sunday.


2023 Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship certified by FIA – Drivers

5          Lucas Fecury                 – Brazil

7          Charlie Wurz                 – Austria

8          Tom McLennan             – Australia

17         Callum Hedge                – New Zealand

21         Josh Mason                   – United Kingdom

23         Liam Sceats                   – New Zealand

36         Adam Fitzgerald            – Ireland *

51         Jacob Abel                    – United States of America

55         Breanna Morris             – New Zealand

66         Ryan Shehan                 – United States of America

77         David Morales               – United States of America

88         Chloe Chambers            – United States of America

98         James Penrose              – New Zealand

101       Ryder Quinn                  – Australia


*Final three rounds only