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Wurz seals Formula Regional Oceania Championship
By Iwan Jones
Sunday 12th February, 2023 - 5:22pm
Charlie Wurz has sealed the 2023 Formula Regional Oceania Championship with victory in the final race at Taupo International Motorsport Park.
Wurz converted his pole position to victory in the Denny Hulme Trophy race decider, taking the chequered flag ahead of New Zealand Grand Prix winner Laurens van Hoepen and Kiwi James Penrose.
The title victory sees the Austrian collect 18 FIA Super Licence points as he aims to follow in the footsteps of his father Alexander into a career in Formula 1.
“I can’t feel any better,” Wurz said.
“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 okay.
“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.”
Wurz masters drama-filled race
Wurz led from van Hoepen at the end of the opening lap, which saw Louis Foster turned by David Morales at Turn 1, with Race 1 winner Callum Hedge avoiding the drama to find himself in fifth.
At the head of the field, Wurz held a healthy margin over van Hoepen until Lap 16, when a collision involving Ryder Quinn and Adam Fitzgerald at Turn 7 saw the Safety Car called to action.
In a crucial move, Wurz went early at the restart that saw several competitors including Hedge caught off guard.
Penrose capitalised to find himself past both Hedge and Liam Sceats and on course for a podium after starting 12th.
Ahead of him, Wurz secured victory over one second ahead of van Hoepen, with the Kiwi a further one second behind.
Hedge was fourth, with a post-race penalty seeing Sceats ultimately classified fifth, ahead of Jacob Abel.
Australian Tom McLennan finished seventh, ahead of Race 2 winner Chloe Chambers, as Kaleb Ngatoa and Morales rounded out the top 10.
Ryan Shehan, Bree Morris, Quinn, Lucas Fecury, Foster, Josh Mason and Fitzgerald completed the field.
Denny Hulme Trophy Race – Result
1. Charlie Wurz (AUT) – M2 Competition
2. Laurens van Hoepen (NED) – M2 Competition
3. James Penrose (NZL) – Kiwi Motorsport
4. Callum Hedge (NZL) – M2 Competition
5. Liam Sceats (NZL) – M2 Competition*
6. Jacob Abel (USA) – Kiwi Motorsport
7. Tom McLennan (AUS) – Kiwi Motorsport
8. Chloe Chambers (USA) – Giles Motorsport
9. Kaleb Ngatoa (NZL) – Giles Motorsport
10. David Morales (USA) – M2 Competition
11. Ryan Shehan (USA) – Giles Motorsport
12. Bree Morris (NZL) – Giles Motorsport
13. Ryder Quinn (AUS) – M2 Competition
14. Lucas Fecury (BRA) – Kiwi Motorsport
15. Louis Foster (GBR) – Giles Motorsport
16. Josh Mason (GBR) – Kiwi Motorsport
17. Adam Fitzgerald (IRL) – Giles Motorsport
*includes post-race penalty
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