Cantabrian James Penrose is more than happy with a win and two second placings at the opening round of the 2021 New Zealand Formula Ford Championship on Sunday. Penrose won the opening race of three, then was twice pipped on the line by Matthew McCutcheon in the following two.
“It was a successful weekend,” commented Penrose. “It was really close racing, we came away with a good points haul and all four corners still on the car.”
While McCutcheon set the fastest time in qualifying, Penrose continued to get the better start off the line to lead in all three races.
“It was a matter of defending and in the end, there wasn’t much I could do when he got the draught on the last lap.”
Having finished second to Penrose in Race 1, McCutcheon the next two races by just 0.22 and 0.32 seconds.
“Potentially I could have dropped back and draughted him, but then, that was always going to be a risky strategy. All credit to them, they have a well run team.”
Rookie driver Kyan Davie finished third overall for the weekend.
The shortened championship will see drivers compete over three events with the second round at Pukekohe Park, in Auckland, in three weeks’ time and the finale at Penrose’s home track in Christchurch 1 May.
Mike Pero Motorsport Park, on the out skirts of Christchurch, hosts the final round as part of a Formula Ford Festival celebrating 50 years of the category competing in New Zealand.
Penrose is currently leading the 2020/2021 South Island Formula 1600 Championship having won every race so far after contesting 5/6 rounds.