It’s been a weekend to remember for Kiwi teenager Callum Hedge, who claimed round honours of the Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup on the Gold Coast.
Running in support of the Gold Coast 500, the series featured two sprint races, of 16 laps each, and a 25 lap feature.
Hedge started the weekend off as strongly as possible, qualifying on pole for the first of the three races. A 1min 12.1662sec time was enough to see him take top spot over David Russell by .1196 of a second.
Come Race time on Saturday, Hedge started strongly and featured in a lights-to-flag victory, holding off Russell through some excellent defence for the majority of race proceedings.
Dale Wood rounded out the podium in Race 1, holding off series-leader Harri Jones throughout the race until a charging Aaron love caught up to the duo.
Love had qualified 15th for the race, but had working his way through the field with a mammoth drive, picking off contenders along the way. Turn 4 was his passing area of choice, often diving up the inside on the way through. It was enough to see him finish the race in fourth, a massive gain of 11 places.
The race, however, belonged to Hedge, holding off a spirited Russell to take the flag.
“It was a really good race,” he said on Saturday evening.
“I was very nervous on the grid, my ear plug fell off – so I had one in my left and none in the right – so my ears are ringing now and I’m ready for a sleep after this. But really thankful to get the win, just controlled the pace.
“Every time Dave was a little bit close, I would push a bit harder to get a gap and every time he dropped back, I would slow down and cool the tyres. I managed the gap from there and got the win.
“In terms of the pressure, I looked in the mirror on one lap and made a mistake, so I stopped looking in the mirror for the last five or six laps, but big thanks to Team Porsche New Zealand and Earl Bamber Motorsport for a great car, hopefully we can do it all again tomorrow.”
Sunday brought about more of the same, the endurance race getting things underway with Hedge on the front row. Love, starting fourth, continued where he left off in Race 1, picking off the three drivers ahead and taking the lead off Hedge on lap 10.
Love never looked back, driving away to take the victory, whilst Hedge held on for second place ahead of Russell.
Race three brought about more of the same, however an early Safety Car for a large crash saw Love unable to build the lead until the lights went green again.
He did just that once proceedings resumed, with Hedge holding off Russell once again to finish second.
With a race win and two second place, the Kiwi taking out the Gold Coast round.
Awesome to claim pole position, a race win and the round win at the Gold Coast this weekend,” he said in a social media post.
“It’s the final round, and we wrapped up the season with the top rookie honours.
“It’s been a great debut season – highs and lows, and I’m excited to take all my learning into 2023.”
The series, however, belonged to Jones, three top 10 finishes enough to see him take the 2022 title over Love by just 15 points.
Liam Talbot also wrapped up the Pro-AM competition at he event despite coming into difficulty in Race 3.