Charlie Wurz of M2 Competition has won the Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship (formerly the Toyota Racing Series) after taking a commanding victory in the Denny Hulme Trophy race at Taupo International Motorsport Park.
Only needing to better New Zealander Callum Hedge to take the crown, Wurz laid down a statement with a commanding victory over Laurens van Hoepen, Hedge only able to finish fourth.
That still sees Hedge finish second in the championship in what shapes up to be a massive year for the Kiwi with a full-time Porsche Carrera Cup Australia campaign on the cards.
A late Safety Car for a stranded Adam Fitzgerald did bring the field together for a 4 lap dash to the line, the #7 holding his composure off the restart to put time on those behind once again.
Van Hoepen matched the pace of the championship winner throughout the early laps only to drop off in the latter stages. Second place still compliments the abilities of the New Zealand Grand Prix winner with a championship battle unfolding around.
It was a different Kiwi rounding out the podium, James Penrose driving to a superb third having started 12th on the grid. It brings an end to his hard run of form of late after taking two wins earlier in the season.
Liam Sceats was also quick off the front row, running third most the race before dropping off late to lose two positions. A 5 second penalty for a jump start did compound his chances of race success however Sceats pulled well clear of sixth-placed Jacob Abel to keep fifth come race end.
Tom McLennan returned strongly after missing out on the New Zealand Grand Prix with a sore wrist, bouncing back with seventh place ahead of Race 2’s winner Chloe Chambers.
Chambers was another massive mover in the field having started 16th on the grid. It’s been a weekend of revelation for the 18-year-old as she aims to progress in her motorsport career.
Kaleb Ngatoa could only manage ninth after running fourth on Lap 1, his tyres dropping off dramatically in the dying stages to give a way past for those behind.
David Morales also had a monster end to the race, finishing 10th after serving a drive through earlier for his role in a Lap 1 incident.
The other Kiwi in the field, Breanna Morris, also made great strides forward to finish 12th following an incredible opening stint which saw her run as high as 10th.
“I can’t feel any better,” said Wurz afterwards. “I mean that race was the most difficult to win of this championship for me because it started raining a lot, I was so afraid of going off and I had to keep Laurens behind me.
“Luckily I got a bit of a gap and could relax a bit but then the Safety Car came out and I thought ‘Oh no’ so I had to get it all right in the restart but fortunately it was OK.
“This gives me a lot of confidence going into Europe. I know the competition is tough over there but it has been strong here. I’ve learned a lot about racing in New Zealand.”
The Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship now wraps up for 2023 with the series welcoming future champions when it gets underway again next year.