Brilliant Debut By Munro
13 JANUARY 2013
Brilliant Debut By Munro
Fifteen-year-old Christchurch driver James Munro made a spectacular entry into the New Zealand Formula Ford Championship at Teretonga Park in Invercargill this weekend.
The championship rookie, the least experienced driver on the grid, put his Mygale on pole position in qualifying and then won the opening race of the round in his first ever championship start on Saturday. The race win was hard fought too. Munro was slow off the line and settled into second place behind fellow Cantabrian Michael Collins. After applying pressure for several laps Munro took the lead in a classic move around the outside going into Teretonga's infamous loop. The duo continued their battle all the way to the flag with the youngster holding on to close out the race and taste victory in his first ever national championship start.
"That was a hard race," said an elated Munro in the pits afterwards. "I had to chase him down. It was a tight race, very tense. I didn't realise when we were on the last lap and it was an incredible relief to see the chequered flag. I didn't quite have enough revs off the startline. I made it a bit of a challenge for myself."
On Sunday morning James was on pole position again but unfortunately the Mygale crept slightly before the start. While he was slow away and gained no advantage he was given a 5 second time penalty to overcome. He raced on and fought another battle with Collins as the pair passed and repassed each other around the 2.64 kilometre circuit. Munro made it into the lead with a similar move to the day before but Collins regained the lead on the final lap. The time penalty dropped Munro to fourth overall.
Munro was again a little slow off the line in the third and final race on Sunday afternoon. Once again he pressured Collins before making another outstanding pass around the outside of the loop to take the lead. The race then became a terrific three way battle between Munro, Brendon Leitch of Invercargill and Collins. The battle was only resolved on the final lap when Collins and Munro spun simultaneously at the loop on the final lap. Both regained the track with James falling back to finish fourth.
James was very pleased with the weekend after making the step into national competition after only a handful of previous race outings.
"It was my first big meeting and I am very happy to have qualified on pole and won my first race. I am glad to have proven to myself that I have the pace." Looking back at the incident at the end of the final race where he and Collins spun, he said "We tried to outbrake each other. The wind was very strong, stronger than the other races and we just couldn't turn in. Unfortunately I lost out."
However Munro has made a stunning impression on debut and leaves Teretonga just a few points behind both Leitch and Collins who are tied for the championship lead.
The next round of the championship takes place at Timaru International Raceway next weekend.
Fifteen year old Christchurch driver James Munro takes his Mygale (#40) around the outside of Michael Collins to take the lead in the opening race of the NZ Formula Ford Championship at Teretonga Park in Invercargill on Saturday. Munro went on to win the race in his championship debut - photo credit Euan Cameron.
CALENDAR -- 2013 NZ
FORMULA FORD CHAMPIONSHIP
Round 1: 12-13 January 2013 - Teretonga Park, Invercargill
Round 2: 19-20 January 2013 - Timaru International Motor Raceway, Levels, Timaru
Round 3: 2-3 February 2013 - Hampton Downs, Waikato
Round 4: 9-10 February 2013 - Manfeild Park, Feilding
Round 5: 9-10 March 2013 - Taupo Motorsport Park, Taupo