Penrose takes feature race at Manfeild

James Penrose

James Penrose has claimed the Dan Higgins Trophy after sealing victory in the feature race for the Formula Regional Oceania Championship at Manfeild – Circuit Chris Amon.

Penrose led home an all-Kiwi top three, taking the chequered flag ahead of Callum Hedge, with Liam Sceats completing the podium.

He ran a clean race in a race that featured collisions between Race 2 winner Josh Mason, Ryan Shehan and Billy Frazer on Lap 2, as well as polesitter Charlie Wurz and Race 1 winner Louis Foster on Lap 18 that resulted in a shake-up of the running order.

As Wurz and Foster clashed, Penrose managed to pull a gap on Hedge, who would go onto follow him across the line after 27 laps 2.8s in arrears, with Sceats a further 3s adrift.

It is the second victory of the season for Penrose, who picked up a win in the opening round of the five-round championship at Highlands Motorsport Park.

“I can’t believe it, luck was on my side today,” he reflected.

“I saw what happened in front and I just kept pushing and pushing and tried not to do reinvent the wheel or anything like that.

“It’s fantastic to win a feature race and do it here at a track with such history and heritage,” he added.

“It’s really one of the biggest moments of my career so far and I’m just so grateful for the support I’ve had from the Kiwi Driver Fund.

“It’s a massive confidence booster heading into the Grand Prix next weekend.”

American Jacob Abel finished fourth, with compatriot David Morales in fifth.

As a result of the incident at the infield hairpin with Foster, Wurz would end up finishing sixth, ahead of Australian Ryder Quinn.

Irishman Adam Fitzgerald, W Series driver Chloe Chambers and Shehan rounded out the top 10.

Australian Tom McLennan and Kiwi Bree Morris finished ahead of Foster, who was slapped with a drive-through penalty that saw him finish the race in 13th, while Lucas Fecury and Billy Frazer completed the field.

Following Round 3, Wurz holds a six-point advantage over fellow M2 competition driver Hedge in the championship standings, with Kiwi Motorsport’s Abel in third place 24 points away from the lead.

Round 4 of the Formula Regional Oceania Championship, which includes the 67th New Zealand Grand Prix, will take place at Hampton Downs International Motorsport Park on February 3-5.

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