Thrills and Spills in Toyota Racing Series at Teretonga The day at Invercargill's Teretonga Park started with intermittent rain and a wet track for the 17 entrants who lined up for the first of two races in the new Toyota Racing Series on Sunday...
Thrills and Spills in Toyota Racing Series at Teretonga
The day at Invercargill's Teretonga Park started with intermittent rain and a wet track for the 17 entrants who lined up for the first of two races in the new Toyota Racing Series on Sunday 16 January, as part of the Mike Pero MotorSport Series.
Brent Collins from Timaru was on pole, courtesy of setting the fastest lap time during the Toyota's first race yesterday. Series' regulations state that starting positions for the second and third races of each round are determined by lap times in the previous race. Wade Cunningham, Auckland, was in the second slot, Brendon Hartley, Palmerston North, in third and Andy Knight, Christchurch, in fourth.
Collins got away to a tidy start on the slippery track, but Hartley bogged down and others were desperately trying to avoid him as they all accelerated off the start line. Ben Crighton, Auckland, hit the back of Hartley's stranded car and in the ensuing chaos Tim Edgell, Auckland, went off into the pit wall to the left while Mark Munro, Christchurch, and Duane Spurdle, Auckland, went off the circuit to the right.
From the re-start, Collins was again off the line tidily, with Cunningham and Knight hard on his tail. The wet track caused the Michelin tyres to throw up huge 'rooster tails' of spray so a clear view of the track was near impossible for the drivers following Collins, giving him a significant advantage. Cunningham disappeared off the circuit on lap five, leaving Knight and Chris Pither, Palmerston North, chasing Collins to the chequered flag.
The weather had cleared for the second Toyota Racing Series race as Collins again lined up in pole position with Knight, Daniel Gaunt from Auckland and Pither behind him. The Toyota Tatuus crews, particularly those of Munro, Spurdle and Edgell, put in some dedicated work in the pits to ensure all 17 cars lined up for the second race.
Thirty-year-old Collins, who hadn't driven a single seater race car for four years until he first hopped into the Toyota Tatuus two weeks ago, demonstrated his determination and driving skills in these nimble 1800 cc 'wings and slicks' race cars by getting a clean start and holding the lead with relative ease all the way to the chequered flag. Pither, Gaunt and Lower Hutt's Ben Harford followed Collins home in the 16-lap race.
With two wins and an eleventh place, Collins secured 180 points, but it was Chris Pither who won the round with the 181 points scored from his fourth, third and second placings. Daniel Gaunt collected the next highest total of points for the weekend with 153 points.
After two rounds of the six round 2005 Toyota Racing Series, Collins holds the lead in the points table with 394 points, from Gaunt with 318 and Hartley with 299.
The Toyota Racing Series moves to Powerbuilt Tools International Raceway at Ruapuna Park outside Christchurch for the weekend of January 22 and 23, where they will again compete in three races as part of the MotorSport New Zealand Tier Two race meeting.
<pre> 2005 Toyota Racing Series, Round 2, Invercargill
Race 2 of 3 (12 laps, grid start)
Pos Driver Hometown Fastest Lap 1. Brent Collins Timaru 1:04.840 2. Andy Knight Christchurch 1:04.963 3. Chris Pither Palmerston North 1:05.085 4. Matthew Hamilton Christchurch 1:06.696 5. Kim Crocker Tauranga 1:06.818 6. Ben Crighton Auckland 1:07.720 7. Fiona Hamilton Christchurch 1:08.244 8. Ken Smith Auckland 1:06.695 9. Ben Harford Lower Hutt 1:05.378 10. Daniel Gaunt Auckland 1:05.037 DNF Wade Cunningham Auckland 1:06.247 DNF James Cressey Auckland 1:14.783 DNF Walter Grubmuller Monaco DNS Brendon Hartley Palmerston North DNS Mark Munro Christchurch DNS Duane Spurdle Auckland DNS Tim Edgell Auckland
Race 3 of 3 (16 laps, grid start)
Pos Driver Hometown Fastest Lap 1. Brent Collins Timaru 56.625 2. Chris Pither Palmerston North 56.732 3. Daniel Gaunt Auckland 56.613 4. Ben Harford Lower Hutt 56.698 5. Wade Cunningham Auckland 56.392 6. Brendon Hartley Palmerston North 56.448 7. Matthew Hamilton Christchurch 56.601 8. Ken Smith Auckland 57.540 9. Ben Crighton Auckland 57.507 10. Andy Knight Christchurch 57.992 11. Kim Crocker Tauranga 57.785 12. James Cressey Auckland 57.672 13. Duane Spurdle Auckland 57.998 14. Mark Munro Christchurch 57.897 15. Walter Grubmuller Monaco 57.296 16. Tim Edgell Auckland 57.961 17. Fiona Hamilton Christchurch 58.162
Points after Rnd 2 of 6 (provisional) 1. Brent Collins Timaru 394 2. Daniel Gaunt Auckland 318 3. Brendon Hartley Palmerston Nth 299 4. Matthew Hamilton Christchurch 289 5. Ben Harford Lower Hutt 277 6. Wade Cunningham Auckland 261 7. Chris Pither Palmerston Nth 259 8. Andy Knight Christchurch 224 9. James Cressey Auckland 206 10. Ben Crighton Auckland 200 11. Ken Smith Auckland 195 12. Kim Crocker Tauranga 184 13. Fiona Hamilton Christchurch 152 14. Walter Grubmuller Monaco 146 15. Tim Edgell Auckland 118 16. Duane Spurdle Auckland 98 17. Mark Munro Christchurch 52
Next race: Rnd 3: Powerbuilt Tools International Raceway at Ruapuna Park, Christchurch, Jan 22-23