Sceats tops practice for Formula Regional decider


Liam Sceats has set the benchmark in practice for the Formula Regional Oceania Championship finale at Taupo. Picture: Bruce Jenkins

New Zealander Liam Sceats has set the pace in practice for the 2023 Formula Regional Oceania Championship finale at Taupo International Motorsport Park.

Sceats topped the combined timesheets for practice with a 1:24.729s in Practice 3, edging out Louis Foster who clocked a 1:24.918s in Practice 2, while fellow Kiwi Callum Hedge was third-fastest overall with a 1:24.937s in Practice 3.

Practice 1 was topped by Irishman Adam Fitzgerald who set a 1:25.187s, with title contender Charlie Wurz second fastest with a 1:25.231s, while Ryan Shehan was third with a 1:26.133s in a session that saw the majority of the field run on old tyres.

The 30-minute hit-out was interrupted by two red flags with W Series driver Chloe Chambers damaging the front end of her Giles Motorsport entry, while Australian Tom McLennan caused the second stoppage following an off-track excursion.

Foster was fastest in Practice 2, ahead of David Morales, who was 0.681s off the pace with a 1:25.599s, while Sceats was third fastest with a 1:25.777s.

Practice 3 saw Sceats set the fastest time of the day in the final session, with the M2 Competition driver also notching up the second and third fastest laps of the session, with a pair of sub 1:25s efforts.

While third-fastest on combined times, Hedge was second-fastest in Practice 3, with Fitzgerald demonstrating pace with a time of 1:25.347s to trail Hedge by four-tenths.

Heading into the final round of the season, three drivers remain in the hunt for the title and the accompanying 18 FIA Super Licence points, with Wurz leading Hedge by 10 points, with Jacob Abel a further 22 points adrift.

The trio will have to contend with 2023 New Zealand Grand Prix winner Laurens van Hoepen and flying Kiwi Kaleb Ngatoa, who both enjoyed victories in the penultimate round at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park.

Qualifying 1 will commence at 11:46 local time/09:46 AEDT tomorrow, with Race 1 at 16:47 local time/14:47 AEDT.

2023 Formula Regional Oceania Championship Standings

1. Charlie Wurz (AUT) – M2 Competition – 270

2. Callum Hedge (NZL) – M2 Competition – 260

3. Jacob Abel (USA) – Kiwi Motorsport -238

4. Liam Sceats (NZL) – M2 Competition – 187

5. James Penrose (NZL) – Kiwi Motorsport -181

6. David Morales (USA) – M2 Competition – 178

7. Ryder Quinn (AUS) – M2 Competition – 169

8. Josh Mason (GBR) – Kiwi Motorsport – 162

9. Ryan Shehan (USA) – Giles Motorsport – 151

10. Chloe Chambers (USA) – Giles Motorsport – 124

11. Louis Foster (GBR) – Giles Motorsport – 101

12. Tom McLennan (AUS) – Kiwi Motorsport – 86

13. Laurens van Hoepen (NED) – M2 Competition – 82

14. Lucas Fecury (BRA) – Kiwi Motorsport – 82

15. Bree Morris (NZL) – Giles Motorsport – 74

16. Kaleb Ngatoa (NZL) – Giles Motorsport – 63

17. Adam Fitzgerald (IRL) – Giles Motorsport – 62

18. Brendon Leitch (NZL) – Kiwi Motorsport – 44

19. Billy Frazer (NZL) – Hamilton Motorsport -33

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