NZ: Toyota Racing Series Manfield, day two

TOYOTA RACING SERIES' INTERNATIONAL TROPHY GOES TO COLLINS The Toyota Racing Series opened Sunday's racing at Manfeild Park for round five of the premier summer circuit racing series, the Mike Pero MotorSport Series. By the end of the weekend...

TOYOTA RACING SERIES' INTERNATIONAL TROPHY GOES TO COLLINS

The Toyota Racing Series opened Sunday's racing at Manfeild Park for round five of the premier summer circuit racing series, the Mike Pero MotorSport Series.

By the end of the weekend Timaru driver Brent Collins had secured the series' International Trophy, awarded to the driver with the most points from the first four rounds of the Toyota Racing Series.

Palmerston North teenager Brendon Hartley set the fastest time during official qualifying and took a 'lights to flag' victory in the first of this class's three scheduled races on Saturday. By virtue of having set the fastest lap in the first race, Hartley was on pole for their second race with Aucklanders Wade Cunningham and Daniel Gaunt behind him.

In the first attempt to get the Toyota Tatuus cars away racing, Ben Harford's car stalled on the starting grid while several other drivers tangled at the first corner. By the time Wade Cunningham's car was badly damaged in an incident at the entry to the back straight, the race had been red-flagged by officials.

Pole-setter Hartley had to pull into pit lane to have his car's nose cone replaced, so with Cunningham's demise, the first four on the grid for the re-start were Gaunt, Harford, Brent Collins and Andy Knight.

Harford got a great start and slipped into the lead around Gaunt in the first corner, and Collins got past Gaunt a couple of corners. Matthew Hamilton lost control as the field swept around into the front straight for the first time and just behind, Tim Edgell tried to avoid Hamilton's spinning Toyota, making a valiant but ill-fated bid for a narrow gap beside the start-finish concrete wall. This incident caused the race to be red-flagged for the second time, with Cunningham, Hamilton and Edgell now out of the field.

With yet another re-start, Hartley was able to take his pole position again, followed by Gaunt, Harford, Collins and Andy Knight.

Away for the third time and Harford had another great start, managing to take the lead off Hartley within metres of the start line. At the end of the first lap Gaunt also got around Hartley as the leaders swept out of the first corner, while Knight dropped back, leaving the top five after two laps as Harford, Gaunt, Hartley, Collins and Chris Pither.

Hartley wasn't giving up the lead though and on lap four overtook Gaunt, on lap five overtook Harford, then steadily increased his lead to secure a sound victory at the end of a shortened ten lap race.

In the afternoon's 16-lap Toyota race, Hartley had pole position with Collins beside him in slot two. Daniel Gaunt should have been in slot three, but was missing from the starting line-up, then came Knight, Pither, Harford and Mark Munro from Christchurch.

Collins got a great start, leaping into the lead off the line over Hartley, then Knight took advantage of the pressure on Hartley also and slipped through into second place. Hartley had mechanical problems after being hit by another competitor and came into the pits on the second lap, while Cunningham, who had started in 15th place was already up to seventh. Hartley got back on the track and continued through to the end of the race at a much reduced pace.

Collins extended a substantial lead by the eighth lap with Knight and Pither holding steady in second and third places. Cunningham moved up to fifth place and made some ground catching Hamilton in fourth, but the top five remained Collins, Knight, Pither, Hamilton and Cunningham through to the chequered flag.

Collins commented he didn't really expect to have done so well at Manfeild.

"We were still working on car set-up, but getting a fast lap time in today's first race allowed me to start from the front of the grid for the second race. Once I was in front, I was able to hold that lead."

Collins leads the Toyota Racing Series with 758 points and says it's definitely a thrill to have won the inaugural Toyota Racing Series International Trophy.

"It's interesting to see how much easier it is to talk to sponsors when you're doing well too."

Toyota Racing Series category manager Barrie Thomlinson said:

"You can tell that more drivers are getting a handle on the cars now, as they're all pushing harder and the crews are getting the cars well-sorted in their set-up. When you look at how Brendon Hartley passed Gaunt and Harford in today's first race -- well, you can really see the talents of these young drivers coming out now."

The Toyota Racing Series returns to Manfeild on April 2 and 3 for the fifth round of their series, then heads to Pukekohe on April 15, 16 and 17 for their series finale.

<pre> RACE 2 1. Brendon Hartley Palmerton North 1:05.669 2. Ben Harford Lower Hutt 1:06.160 3. Brent Collins Timaru 1:05.877 4. Andy Knight Christchurch 1:05.951 5. Chris Pither Palmerston North 1:06.157 6. James Cressey Auckland 1:06.442 7. Ben Crighton Auckland 1:06.737 8. Mark Munro Christchurch 1:06.275 9. Kim Crocker Tauranga 1:06.769 10. Ken Smith Auckland 1:07.132 11. Andrew Higgins Auckland 1:07.214 12. Duane Spurdle Auckland 1:07.288 13. Fiona Hamilton Christchurch 1:07.207 14. Daniel Gaunt Auckland 1:05.933 DNF Matthew Hamilton Christchurch DNF Tim Edgell Auckland DNF Wade Cunningham Auckland

RACE 3 1. Brent Collins Timaru 1:06.389 2. Andy Knight Christchurch 1:06.467 3. Chris Pither Palmerston North 1:06.328 4. Matthew Hamilton Christchurch 1:06.221 5. Wade Cunningham Auckland 1:06.082 6. James Cressey Australia 1:06.790 7. Tim Edgell Auckland 1:06.698 8. Ben Crighton Auckland 1:06.726 9. Ben Harford Lower Hutt 1:06.743 10. Kim Crocker Tauranga 1:07.453 11. Andrew Higgins Auckland 1:07.137 12. Fiona Hamilton Christchurch 1:07.467 13. Duane Spurdle Auckland 1:07.562 14. Brendon Hartley Palmerston North 1:10.433 DNF Mark Munro Christchurch 1:11.237 DNF Ken Smith Auckland 1:07.108 DNS. Daniel Gaunt Auckland

2005 Toyota Racing Series -- Points after Round Four 1. Brent Collins Timaru 758 2. Brendon Hartley Palmerston North 610 3. Matthew Hamilton Christchurch 602 4. Daniel Gaunt Auckland 556 5. Andy Knight Christchurch 547 6. Wade Cunningham Auckland 540 7. Chris Pither Palmerston North 502 8. Ben Harford Lower Hutt 497 9. James Cressey Auckland 430 10. Kim Crocker Tauranga 408 11. Ben Crighton Auckland 399 12. Ken Smith Auckland 336 13. Tim Edgell Auckland 313 14. Fiona Hamilton Christchurch 276 15. Duane Spurdle Auckland 222 16. Walter Grubmuller Monaco 200 17. Mark Munro Christchurch 140 18. Andrew Higgins Auckland 82

2005 Toyota Racing Series -- Young Driver of the Year 1. Brent Collins 767 points 2. Brendon Hartley 629 3. Matthew Hamilton 602 4. Daniel Gaunt 577 5. Andy Knight 554 6. Wade Cunningham 543 7. Chris Pither 518 8. Ben Harford 507 9. James Cressey 451 10. Ben Crighton 439 11. Fiona Hamilton 355 12. Tim Edgell 333

-fast company-

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About this article
Series Road racing
Drivers Barrie Thomlinson , Wade Cunningham , Walter Grubmuller , Matthew Hamilton , Daniel Gaunt , Chris Pither , Brendon Hartley , Ben Crighton
Teams Toyota Racing