Callum Hedge scores Highlands Toyota 86 pole
After a tight qualifying session at Highlands Motorsport Park, Callum Hedge has snatched pole position for the opening Toyota 86 Championship race at Highlands Motorsport Park in the CareVets Scholarship car.
It was a tit-for-tat run between Hedge, Jaden Ransley in the Miles Toyota car and Peter Vodanovich in the CMC Markets supported racer. All three of them enjoyed time at the head of the pack, but ultimately Hedge's persistance paid off with pole — achieved by just over a tenth of a second.
The strategic curveball that's unique to the Highlands Motorsport Park is its long length relative to other circuits on the calendar. So the amount of attempts each driver can make at clocking a competitive time in the 20-minute session are vastly reduced — making each lap a critical exercise.
Ransley and Hedge were the first drivers to break under the 1min 52sec marker, but soon enough the marker was further shifted to a 1:51.965 by Peter Vodanovich.
As it's been for the full season to date, the margins were minimal. Vodanovich's time was soon eclipsed by Ransley and Hedge, but only by mere tenths.
Halfway through qualifying, Ransley led Hedge, Vodanovich, Arron Crighton (CareVets), and Jordan Baldwin in the Intermach car. The top 10 were covered by just one second — impressive, given the near two-minute lap length.
Ransley's 1:51.706 led for a lengthy period as the field prepared for the final five minutes. Behind him, Baldwin dropped a few spots, losing out to a pair of Connors — Adam and Davison in the Poste Haste and locally supported Highlands cars repsectively.
Hedge halved the margin to Ransley with a 1:51.863, as he pushed harder to try and dethrone Christchurch-based driver. After another crack, he was just half a tenth off Ransley. And, third time lucky, he tipped Ransley off the top step with a 1:51.542.
Ransley and Vodanovich were among the last drivers to set their closing time, but neither could shift Hedge off the top step in the end. Crighton and Adam completed the top five.
Race one of the Toyota 86 Series at Highlands Motorsport Park is scheduled to kick off at 3.05pm this afternoon.
Race one qualifying order:
1. Callum Hedge
2. Jaden Ransley
3. Peter Vodanovich
4. Arran Crighton
5. Connor Adam
6. Connor Davison
7. Jordan Baldwin
8. Sam Wright
9. Justin Allen
10. Brock Gilchrist
11. Jacob Cranston
12. Campbell Stewart
13. Leo Bult
14. Kaleb Ngatoa