Callum Hedge needed only two races in the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge before etching his name onto the winner’s trophy.
The 17-year-old New Zealander braved out testing wet conditions in today’s second race at Phillip Island, securing a maiden win after catching and overtaking the leaders with just a few laps in hand.
Hedge had lined up on the second row after finishing the day’s earlier race, staged in dry conditions, in fourth.
After a slow start, Hedge would battle through the worst of the weather to give him a chance at victory.
Polesitter and race one winner Ryan Suhle spun from a massive lead. Newly promoted race leader Sam Shahin would also end up facing the wrong way moments later.
Hedge soon found his purple patch and posted the fastest lap of the race at the time. He would soon reel in Courtney Prince and Bayley Hall to seize the race lead, a position he would not give up.
Prince and Hall would both have of their races unfold with spins and collisions, gifting Hedge an unrivalled margin to secure the race win. He would finish seven seconds up the road from Suhle, who executed a strong recovery effort.
Hedge wasn’t the only Kiwi on the Porsche grid. His Earl Bamber Motorsport teammate Madeline Stewart would end the day with a 16th in race one after a slow start, before crossing the line 17th in the wet second race.
Despite the lowly results, Stewart demonstrated plenty of potential and was right on the pace with the top midfield runners.
Both herself and Hedge will have one further race this weekend, a longer 26-lap feature race, which will begin at 12.05 pm NZT.
Kaleb Ngatoa had what he described as a “massive learning curve” in his rookie S5000 outing.
Missing both of the weekend’s practice sessions after only flying into Australia yesterday, Ngatoa qualified a solid eighth for race one.
Able to match, and at times better, the pace of those ahead of him, Ngatoa was eager to cut his way towards the front of the field. Unfortunately, the young Kiwi picked up a puncture after sustaining damage to the rim, which dropped him back to the rear of the field.
He would finish the race in tenth but would start race two on pole due to a reverse top-eight of race one’s qualifying.
Losing the lead after a sluggish start, Ngatoa re-found his grove and ran comfortably in the lead crop of cars.
However, in a day plagued by misfortune, Ngatoa would retire with a driveshaft failure.
But despite the dramas, Nagtoa is holding his head up high for the rest of the weekend.
“Today has been a really big learning curve for me,” Ngatoa said. “But I am getting to learn everything better and better and getting more comfortable with the car.”
Ngatoa will have one more race tomorrow, which starts at 3.40 pm and will be live on Sky Sport 5.