Formula First’s newest race winner Mason Potter expects more victories to come now the monkey is off his back.
Potter clinched his first victory over the weekend at Pukekohe. He joined the series last year, but it has been in 2022 where he has finally found his footing.
“The first year was for me to learn and the second was to go for the title,” he said.
“This year has gone so well compared to last. I have improved so much in everything.
“I feel more confident [racing] in that front battle pack. It’s some hard racing at the front.”
Even before the weekend’s racing began, Potter was feeling fast. He set the second-fastest time in qualifying to start on the front row, a career-best qualifying result.
He would have the clean side of the track for each of the three races, and in each case, he took the early race lead.
However, Potter would come out on the losing side of the traditional Formula First slipstream feast in both of the first two races.
It is not uncommon to see a driver leading into turn one only to be shuffled outside the top five by the start of the next tour.
Race one, Potter finished fifth.
Race two, he went one better and was fourth.
Then, in the day’s final duel, Potter earned a reward two years in the making.
“Satisfaction,” he said, recalling how he felt crossing the line first. “Satisfaction after last year’s pain.”
Potter got an early lead but soon fell into the clutches of those behind him.
“I knew I didn’t have to be leading,” he said. “It all comes down to the last lap.”
Having kept in touch with the leaders, Potter’s push came on the penultimate lap, overtaking Chris Symon and Zach Blincoe to hold P1 with one lap to go.
Leading on the final lap is actually not a desirable position to be in, especially at Pukekohe with its high-speed hill section to close the lap.
Potter knew this and tried to back off enough down the back straight to allow Symon and Blincoe back past.
Neither would. They were also aware of the importance of having a tow on the run to the flag.
But Potter had one more trick up his sleeve.
Slowing himself down just enough at the top of the hill meant Symon and Blincoe couldn’t get a clean run for an assault.
Potter hung on and outplayed Symon to the flag by 0.021s.
“Got lucky I guess,” he said. “You don’t normally lead at the final corner and hold on to win.”
But Potter did. And now he wants more.
“Definitely. More wins are the goal.
“I know the car has got potential and I now know I can do it.”
Potter is fourth in the drivers’ championship after three rounds.
Formula First heads to Taupo later this month to start the final half of the 2022 season.
Main Image: NZ Formula First