South Korean driver Michael Shin has bagged a podium in the opening race of the Formula Regional Oceania championship thanks to a brilliant start and classy defensive driving.

The first race of the five-round Formula Regional Oceania championship took place on Saturday afternoon in New Zealand at Taupo Motorsport Park. Two more races will be held tomorrow.

Shin, who raced in GB3 and FIA F3 last season, qualified 6th for the race, while Hong Kong driver and 2022 Chinese F4 champion Gerrard Xie qualified 3rd.

The race got underway in damp conditions and Shin got a superb launch off the line. Heading into turn one, he darted to the inside and grabbed 3rd position, putting him ahead of Kaleb Ngatoa, Liam Sceats, and Xie.

The safety car was deployed on lap one and when racing resumed on lap four, Ngatoa immediately put Shin under pressure. The pair began quickly fell away from race leaders Roman Bilinski and Christian Mansell.

After a handful of laps of driving defensively, Shin established his position and built a gap to Ngatoa.

Shin finished the race in 3rd with a comfortable 1.6-second gap back to Ngatoa. Bilinski beat Mansell for the win. Xie finished 6th.

In a post-race interview aired on Motorsport.tv, Shin said he was “stoked” with the result and that he was able to “pick up the pace” in the final stages of the race.

Header image credit: TOYOTA GAZOO RACING New Zealand/Bruce Jenkins Photography.

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