Taupo TRS: Daruvala emerges victorious in four-way battle
Force India protege Jehan Daruvala picked up his third victory of the 2016 Toyota Racing Series campaign, going from fourth to first in a four-way battle on the restart to steal the win at Taupo.
Daruvala headed M2 teammates Lando Norris and Guan Yu Zhou, all of whom managed to clear long-time leader Brendon Leitch after the safety car, denying the Victory squad its first win of the season.
Eighth place from Devlin DeFrancesco in Race 1 gave him reverse-grid pole position for Sunday's opener, but the Canadian's bid for a maiden win was over almost instantaneously - as he dropped behind Leitch off the line and subsequently slipped to the back of the field.
As Leitch took over out front, Jehan Daruvala picked up second place, albeit he would then be deposed by Ferrari junior Zhou on the third lap.
By that point, Leitch was already cruising a full three seconds ahead, but on Lap 7 his advantage was gone with a safety car for Rodrigo Baptista spinning off and coming to a halt.
The race got back underway with six laps remaining and Daruvala, having crossed the start-finish line in fourth place behind Norris, would subsequently sneak by the trio ahead of him to take a surprise lead.
The Indian then proceeded to pull away from his chasers and was handed the win when the red flag, coming out for separate incidents involving rookies Kami Laliberte, Julian Hanses, Antoni Ptak and Timothe Buret, ended the race.
With Daruvala, Norris and Zhou delivering an M2 1-2-3, Leitch had to do with fourth, fending off Ferdinand Habsburg - who dropped back to eighth on the final lap.
The Austrian was passed by Pedro Piquet, James Munro and Artem Markelov, the latter having made his way from 12th on the grid.
To add insult to injury, Habsburg was then handed a post-race penalty, which promoted Bruno Baptista, Taylor Cockerton and Will Owen to eighth, ninth and 10th.
|3||Guan Yu Zhou||M2||1.835|
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