Callum Crawley has claimed the 2017/18 Hi-Q Components NZ Formula First Championship after taking the final race of the season at Pukekohe Park Raceway.
Heading into the weekend 26 points from the lead, the Manawatu man started his weekend the right way with pole position in qualifying on Saturday morning while then series leader Kaleb Ngatoa was only fifth fastest.
The opening race of the weekend was a continuation of his qualifying pace, leading the pack for the majority of the race, including the run to the flag but was just pipped by Liam Foster at the line. Following a fourth-place finish from Ngatoa, Crawley half the deficit moving to 13 points from the series lead.
The second race was a similar affair with Crawley proving he had the pace to run right up the front while Ngatoa was just hanging onto the bottom of the podium. Then disaster struck for Ngatoa as he and Liam Foster collided, resulting in Foster spinning out of the race and realistic title contention. Crawley would come home third, followed by Ngatoa, narrowing the gap to just seven points.
A post-race penalty for Ngatoa saw him drop to ninth in the race and saw Crawley get handed an 11 points championship lead heading into the final race, mean he had to finish within one spot of Ngatoa.
The final race was again a continuation of pace and smart driving by Crawley, just letting the race play out and not taking any risks that would see him fall behind Ngatoa. Crawley was on his way to making a small lead when a safety car and eventual red flag paused the race.
Upon the restart, Crawley slotted into the lead while Ngatoa made a bold move around the outside of Amy Smith at turn one to take third in pursuit of Crawley. Ngatoa’s pace was unable to hold the position though as he then fell back again as the top three of Crawley, Hurst and Frazer starting to break away.
Crawley would lead the field over the line taking his fourth win of the season and become champion, in just his second season in the class. Ngaotoa, eventually finishing fifth would finish second in the championship ahead of Liam Foster. SpeedSport Scholarship driver Conrad Clark would take the Rookie of the Year title and fourth overall.