Practice for the final round of the ITM New Zealand Formula Ford Championship commences on Friday at Mike Pero Motorsport Park in Christchurch. The final round takes place as part of the Formula Ford Festival, which will see a huge entry list of nearly 70 drivers and cars take part in an action-packed day.
Qualifying and three races will decide the NZ Formula Ford Championship, after which a celebratory, winner takes all race encompassing the fastest 26 cars from the festival, as well as four wildcards, will be held.
This Saturday is sure to be one to remember, featuring not only the undoubtedly thrilling conclusion to the NZ Formula Ford Championship but also a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Formula Ford racing in New Zealand.
Local man James Penrose will be looking to capitalise on his knowledge of the circuit to snatch the top championship spot back from Matthew McCutcheon, whom he has been battling with since the very first race of the season. Matthew has shown exceptional pace at the North Island circuits, especially considering this is his rookie year. However, Penrose has been trading blows with him at every turn, demonstrating that his pace and commitment has not been lacking in any way.
With Penrose being one of the most experienced competitors vying for the NZ Formula Ford Championship this year, all eyes up and down the grid will surely be on him come practice time to try and pick up those extra few tenths of a second in time for qualifying at this challenging circuit.
Penrose has a good record at Ruapuna, last time the championship was at this venue two years ago, Penrose scored two podiums over the weekend. Recently, at the first round of the South Island Formula Ford series, he clean swept the weekend at Ruapuna, qualifying on pole and winning all three races. He will be looking to build on that momentum to take the fight to McCutcheon this weekend.
With just a 20-point buffer between himself and Penrose, McCutcheon will have his work cut out to stay ahead of his hard-charging rival. A small mistake on either drivers’ part could drastically change the outlook at this late stage of the championship.
Kyan Davie, another rookie this year, who is currently sitting third in the standings, will be looking to consolidate on his solid performances from the first two rounds and secure a top-three finish in the championship.
With just 32-points between Blake Evans, Zac Christensen, Leo Scott and Jacob Douglas, who sit fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh respectively, the battle will be fierce to decide who will come out on top in this four-way battle.
Only 13-points behind that battle pack is Liam Sceats, who will be hoping to capitalise on some of the excitement from his fellow rivals and make his way up the order.
The same is true for everyone as the one-day meeting will place huge demands on both driver and team, with a condensed race format and little time between track sessions, it will be a punishing and extremely testing Saturday for everyone involved.
Entry for spectators will be free, so come along to witness what will be a thrilling conclusion to the championship, as well as one of the biggest gatherings of Formula Fords in the country!