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Hedge’s America versus Bathurst gamble pays dividends

CALLUM Hedge has navigated a tricky situation to remain on course for a 2023 championship double on different sides of the world.

The Kiwi teenager had a difficult decision to make ahead of last weekend, given a calendar clash between the two series he’s leading.

It was; Porsche Carrera Cup Australia at Bathurst, or Formula Regional Americas at Virginia International Raceway.

Hedge opted for the latter, with Earl Bamber Motorsport drafting in veteran Chris van der Drift to substitute for him at Mount Panorama.

Long story short, Hedge still leads both title fights.

At VIR, Hedge took pole position and two race wins before recording a DNF in the third and final leg.

Hedge at Virginia International Raceway. Pic: Formula Regional Americas Championship

Per the category’s official website, “Smoke appeared out the back of Hedge’s car as he exited Oak Tree Bend, and by the time he got to the top of the Roller Coaster, he made contact with the tyre barrier.

“…With a broken front wing and rear suspension damage, it appeared that a slight off at Oak Tree caused the terminal damage that forced Hedge to retire from the event.”

Handily for Hedge, rival Ryan Shehan couldn’t fully capitalise, with the victory instead going Cooper Becklin’s way.

What all that means is that Hedge is in the box seat heading with just the decider to come on November 2-5 at Circuit of the Americas.

“We still lead the championship by 51 points, with 75 on offer at the final round next month,” Hedge explained on social media.

“And just want to give a massive shoutout to (van der Drift) for driving ‘Larry’ at Bathurst, and doing a mega job.

Chris van der Drift behind the wheel of Callum Hedge’s #17 Porsche at Bathurst. Pic: Ross Gibb

“Stoked to still be leading the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia championship as well. It’s a lot tighter than before, but we’re got two rounds left to try and seal the deal.”

The cameo presences of van der Drift, Harri Jones and Harry King at Bathurst very much helped to preserve Hedge’s advantage, which stands at just six points over Jackson Walls.

King, Jones and van der Drift swept the podium in all three races, meaning Walls could do no better than results of sixth, fifth and fourth.

With two rounds remaining – Gold Coast and Adelaide – it is almost certainly a two-horse race. Third-placed Dale Wood is 130 points back from Walls.

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