Tight at the top as F1600 Champs head to Teretonga

Callum Hedge has the provisional lead in the New Zealand Formula 1600 Championship as this weekend it heads to Teretonga Park in Southland for the third of five rounds. It is a provisional lead, as the result of the final race at the previous round last weekend in Christchurch will now be decided through an appeal process, and not on the track.

When rival Josh Bethune (Mygale) crossed the line in front of Hedge (Mygale) in that final race, he took a four-point lead over Edge in the NZ F1600 Championship. However, his car was later deemed to be in breach of the technical regulations and thus excluded from the race result. While Bethune is appealing the decision, Edge now takes the provisional lead while Bethune has dropped down the points table to fourth overall.

Neither driver can rest on their laurels. Within striking distance of the lead are Bailey Paterson from Canterbury and Southland’s Ethan Anderson and Jordan Michels.

The round also doubles as the fifth and penultimate round of the ever-popular South Island F1600 Championship that Paterson (Van Diemen Stealth) provisionally leads from local Jordan Michels (Mygale) and Anderson (Van Diemen Stealth). (Edge has elected not to compete in the South Island series).

“I’m excited to be heading to Teretonga,” commented Hedge. “It’s a really fast track so there should be lots of draughting.”

Paterson was ‘Mr Consistent’ at Ruapuna, finishing three times in third place and is just 21 points behind Hedge in the title hunt. Anderson and Michels are on home turf and will also be very competitive.

“We had a really good South Island championship round at Invercargill in December,” commented Paterson. “We know we have the pace.”

“It is always going to be tough at Invercargill,” Michels said. “It’s so tight at the top.”

With such a large field of competitors across three different Classes, mid-pack battles are to be expected. Consistency from Robert Toshach (Spectrum) of Christchurch sees him with a 40-point lead over Southlands Noel Atley (Swift) in Class 2. Rookie and South Island F1600 Scholarship winner Matt Butchart (Van Diemen RF88) has taken the lead in the Historic Class 3. Invercargill’s Joseph Oliver (Crossie) trails the Nelsonian by 27 points.

While the top five may be fighting for wins there are also a string of drivers ready to step up to a place on the podium. Kurt Peterson (Stealth), Stephen Heffernan, (Stealth), Ben Stiles (Stealth), Simon Spencer-Bower (Stealth), Cameron Freeman (Van Diemen RF92), Jack Noble-Adams (Stealth) , Tommy Smith (Mygale) and Grant Campbell (Van Diemen RF03) all were fiercely fighting for top ten positions at Ruapuna and this is expected to continue at Teretonga.

Drivers and teams face qualifying and race one on Saturday with two further races on Sunday.