Three budding Kiwis are out in action at Phillip Island this weekend for the opening round of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championship.
Departing Auckland for Melbourne in the early hours of yesterday morning, Kaleb Ngatoa will be making his S5000 debut this weekend.
Ngatoa’s plans were up in the air following New Zealand remaining a hotspot to several Australian states until midway through the week.
Unfortunately, only arriving at the Phillip Island circuit late in the evening means Ngatoa missed the first two practice sessions. The 19-year-old will now get his first piece of action in qualifying this morning ahead of two races in the afternoon.
“It is a new track, new environment, but we will give it our best shot and see how it goes.” Ngatoa said.
Callum Hedge is the leading New Zealander in the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge after claiming a superb third in yesterday’s qualifying session.
The series rookie will start alongside Courtney Prince on the second row. Queensland duo Ryan Suhle and Bayley Hall will lead from the font, with 17-year-old Hedge chasing in hot pursuit.
“We definitely expect to be near the pointy end, we just need to do our absolute best to make sure we can be where we are aiming to be,” Hedge told Velocity News ahead of the weekend.
“For us, the overall goal is to win the championship.”
Madeline Stewart is the third young Kiwi on track over the weekend. Like Hedge, Stewart will be racing in the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge and in a second Earl Bamber Motorsport-prepared car.
Both her and Hedge have cars donning the silver fern on their car in a proud display of their, and the team’s, Kiwi roots.
Stewart will start the first of tomorrow’s two races from P12 out of the 20-strong field.
She and Hedge will then wrap up the weekend with a 26-lapper on Sunday morning.
Shane van Gisbergen was slated to contest the weekend in a Mercedes AMG GT3 for the first round of the GT World Challenge Australia. However, a broken collarbone ruled him out of the meeting.
His replacement, Jamie Whincup, will start today’s one-hour race from the front row after being beaten to pole by Chaz Mostert in an Audi R8.
Every race from every category will be live to Kiwi viewers on Sky Sport 5. Today’s programming will begin at 12 pm NZT.
Kiwi drivers TV guide times (Saturday March 13)
|Driver||Class||Race 1||Race 2|
|Kaleb Ngatoa||S5000||1.30 pm||3.40 pm|
|Callum Hedge||Porsche||12.30 pm||5.25 pm|
|Madeline Stewart||Porsche||12.30 pm||5.25 pm|
Kiwi drivers TV guide times (Sunday March 14)
|Kaleb Ngatoa||S5000||3.40 pm|
|Callum Hedge||Porsche||12.05 pm|
|Madeline Stewart||Porsche||12.05 pm|
Main Image – Madeline Stewart. Credit: EBM