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Penrose outscores Formula Ford favourites


Rangiora, Canterbury, driver places consistently to win the Manfeild MTA series round.

Matthew Penrose put the cat right among the pigeons when he won last weekend’s round of the MTA New Zealand Formula Ford Championship at Manfeild.

He racked up two second placings and a fifth to amass enough points to win the round.

Series leader, Richie Stanaway, was second overall after a mixed weekend and Damon Leitch overcame setbacks to take the final podium position.

Mitch Evans dominated qualifying and took pole position by 0.220 seconds from Stanaway.

Evans and Stanaway perfectly judged their wheelspin on the waterlogged track to sprint away from the pack in Saturday’s race.

Evans opened a small lead but retired in the closing stages when an oil pump bolt broke, handing the win to Stanaway.

Penrose won a fraught battle for second place with Simon Evans and Jamie McNee (pictured) who recovered well from contact with Stefan Webling.

Mitch Evans and Stanaway resumed their battle at the start on Sunday morning’s race, but a tight squeeze into Turn 1 saw Stanaway spin to the rear of the field.

In the confusion, Webling grabbed the lead, holding it for several laps until Evans outbraked him and got past in the final corner.

Leitch finished a comfortable third ahead of the dicing Martin Short, Penrose and Simon Evans. Stanaway recovered to finish seventh.

Mitch Evans, Webling and Short battled for the lead early in race three but by mid-distance, Evans held an unassailable lead as Webling and Short tangled dropping them down he order. That let Penrose into second, where he finished, ahead of Leitch.

Evans’s win earned him the Morrie Smith Memorial Trophy named in memory of the father of racing legend Ken Smith, whose mother Dorothy tragically died in Palmerton North on Saturday night.

A tribute to Dorothy will appear on this website later this week.

2008/2009 Formula Ford Championship points standings.

Richie Stanaway (Tauranga) 1073; Mitchell Evans (Auckland) 976; Stefan Webling (Oakura) 939; Jamie McNee (Wellington) 863; Matthew Penrose (Rangiora) 825; Damon Leitch (Invercargill) 820; Simon Evans (Auckland) 804; Martin Short (Hamilton) 768; Brett Sullivan (Nelson) 561; Chris Cox (Rangiora) 552.

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