Toyota Racing round 3 preview

Pither The One To Watch This Weekend? Will Palmerston North's Chris Pither be the one to watch as the Toyota Racing Series moves to Christchurch's Powerbuilt Raceway at Ruapuna Park this weekend? The 18-year-old former New Zealand kart...

Pither The One To Watch This Weekend?

Will Palmerston North's Chris Pither be the one to watch as the Toyota Racing Series moves to Christchurch's Powerbuilt Raceway at Ruapuna Park this weekend?

The 18-year-old former New Zealand kart champion who had his first motor race at the tender age of 12 was certainly the big mover at last weekend's second series round at Invercargill's Teretonga Park, qualifying in seventh position and working his forward in each race.

In the first he finished fourth, the second third and the fourth second to claim the round win from race two and three winner Brent Collins and young Auckland driver Daniel Gaunt.

The Toyota Racing Series for identical 1.8 litre Toyota-engined Tatuus TT104ZZ has certainly delivered on its promise of close, exciting 'wings-and-slicks' racing with four winners from six starts over the first two rounds.

Championship points leader, and the driver who so far has won the most races (three), Brent Collins, set the ball rolling by qualifying quickest at the first round at Timaru, but he had to wait until the second day of competition for his first race win after being beaten off the line in the wet first series race on Saturday afternoon at Timaru by 15-year-old Palmerston North driver Brendon Hartley.

Home town hero Collins, 30, got his revenge in the first race on Sunday and looked set to win the second until the last lap, when Queensland-based former New Zealand kart and Formula Ford champion James Cressey, 20, stormed through after gambling on running slick tyres on a damp but drying track.

A week later at the second round of the new series at Invercargill's Teretonga Park, another name came to the fore, that of 2003 World Karting Champion Wade Cunningham.

Cunningham set the fastest time in qualifying then led Saturday afternoon's race from start to finish, but Collins was back to his best (after an early spin in race one) in the second race of the weekend on Sunday morning winning it from a trio of young guns led by Andy Knight.

Collins then completed his meeting comeback in fine style by winning the final 16-lap (the first and second races are over 12 laps) from Chris Pither, Daniel Gaunt and young Wellington driver Ben Harford.

It was Pither who won the day though and the young Palmerston North driver will be keen to make further gains in the overall points standings this weekend.

After the first round of the new series at Timaru he was 13th overall but after his round win at Teretonga he had improved to seventh.

This weekend the Toyota Racing Series will share the top billing at the Canterbury Car Club's Tier 2 meeting at Christchurch's Powerbuilt Raceway with the Battery Town Porsche GT3 series.

Also on the programme this weekend are races for the Tier 2 V8 Touring Car class, Pro 7s, Mini 7s, OSCA, Super 6 Saloons and the new Production Racing class.

-fast company-

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About this article
Series Road racing
Drivers Wade Cunningham , Daniel Gaunt , Chris Pither , Brendon Hartley , Will Palmer
Teams Toyota Racing