Christchurch’s Bailey Paterson heads into the final round of the South Island Formula 1600 Championship with a slim margin over the chasing bunch. Timaru International Raceway hosts the last three races of the season this Saturday and there will be added pressure on Paterson with the late entry of past title holder Michael Collins.
Collins is making a one off appearance for the season along with his sister Anna. Collins is the current SI F1600 champion and will be a contender for race wins, thus taking away vital points that the top four drivers will be after. This season he has been successfully competing in the F5000 Tasman Revival Series in a McRae GM2 and has proved to be very competitive.
The title is for Paterson to take if he continues this season’s form. So far he has finished on the podium thirteen times including two race wins. With a maximum of 40 points per race on offer, Southland’s Ethan Anderson is within striking distance, just 33 points behind Paterson.
Aucklander Josh Bethune has four race wins and has finished on the podium ten times. However, two race retirements have resulted in him being third overall and 35-points behind Paterson heading into the final round. Bethune, who has previously raced a Mygale, will debut his 2017 Ray race car for its first time in the South Island, having competed in it at the last two national rounds in the North Island.
He is followed by Kurt Peterson who also has a mathematical chance of winning the title, 73-points adrift. Jordan Michels, who is sixth in the standings, has elected not to enter after his season came to an abrupt halt at the last round in Invercargill. Problems with his crown and pinion saw him retire from all three races at Teretonga Park, dropping him out of title contention.
Three Classes of Formula 1600 are also competing for individual titles. The overall winner will also take the Class 1 title while the fifth placed overall driver, Robert Toshach, has already wrapped up the Class two title from Noel Atley.
Class 3 is still open with leader Matt Butchart needing to finish all three races. He has a 22-point lead over Joseph Oliver who has been consistent all season and this is a championship that rewards those that finish races.
2017/18 South Island Formula 1600 Championship (Top 10)
Overall Championship Points after 5/6 rounds – provisional
PLACE, DRIVER, CAR, POINTS
1 Bailey Paterson, Stealth 483
2 Ethan Anderson , Stealth 450
3 Josh Bethune, Ray 448
4 Kurt Peterson, Stealth 410
5 Robert Toshach, Spectrum 357
6 Jordan Michels, Mygale 341
7 Callum Hedge, Mygale 324
8 Steve Heffernan, Stealth 267
9 Matt Butchart, VD RF88 265
10 Steve Edwards, Mygale 258
Source: NZ Motor Racing – https://nzmotorracing.co.nz/2018/03/21/pressure-paterson-south-island-f1600-championship-finale/