American David Morales isn’t here to play games, announcing himself as a serious contender in the Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship with victory in today’s Dorothy Smith Memorial Cup feature.
Morales has never been far from the front all weekend, second place in yesterday’s Race 1 and fifth in today’s Race 2, leaving him just o points behind Round winner Charlie Wurz.
It was Austrian Charlie Wurz who overcame a late hiccup to hold on to second, whilst Liam Sceats ensured a Kiwi was on the podium with third.
Wurz has also announced himself as a key contender this weekend with impressive showings across all three events.
For Sceats, it was a welcome return to the grid following his Race 2 crash, M2 Competition’s mechanics doing exceptionally well to repair his damaged front left in time.
A podium finish is the perfect way to repay them for their effort, the youngster looking comfortable in doing so.
Race 1 winner Callum Hedge was unlucky to sustain suspension damage midway through the race when he had been running a strong second, a broken pushrod rocker pedestal believed to be the issue.
Hedge looked like the only one who could challenge the American; however, off the start, Morales got the jump on Hedge, the duo locked in battle through the opening stages of the race before Hedge’s failure.
Wurz was the better of the second-row starters to takes third over Sceats into the chicane.
Race 2 runner-up Abel slotted into fifth, ahead of Mason and Chloe Chambers, who had an excellent race, moved up to seventh. That race’s winner, James Penrose, was also on the move, sliding into tenth behind Ryder Quinn.
Through the early laps it was all Morales, Hedge maintaining contact before slowly clawing back ground to sit less than half a second behind after five laps.
Wurz continued to fall back as the two leaders pulled away, four seconds the gap to third come Lap 6.
Josh Mason and Jacob Abel had been locked in battle throughout early proceedings, Mason trying to work his way through on Lap 10 and understeering into the American.
Both cars spun as a result, Abel quick to resume back into seventh whilst Mason slotted in 11th, just ahead of Morris who had worked some magic of her own to pass Lucas Fecury moments prior.
Ryan Shehan was the next in the action, a superb pass on McLennan up the inside on a left-hander also allowing Penrose to move through for eighth.
This left Morales with a 5 second lead to Wurz in second whilst Sceats was elevated to the podium to take third with Quinn and Chambers behind respectively.
A rhythm came about from here, the youngsters all given an opportunity to put in some consistent race pace in the longer feature.
Hedge was then able to return to the track four laps down, a bonus given 13th place receives points which could be useful come season end.
Morris also had a moment coming off the bridge, running through the outfield but quickly returning to the track and then the lane for a precautionary checkup.
Morales was well clear in front by this point whilst Wurz had an off with four laps to go, allowing Sceats a glimpse and bringing him within three seconds.
The American took the win comfortably whilst Wurz managed to keep ahold of second, Sceats rounding out the podium with a well deserved third.