Matthew Hamilton is The Latest Toyota Racing Series Winner Young Christchurch driver Matthew Hamilton became the fifth winner in just seven races as the new Toyota Racing Series for 'wings-and-slicks' single-seater racing cars visited ...
Matthew Hamilton is The Latest Toyota Racing Series Winner
Young Christchurch driver Matthew Hamilton became the fifth winner in just seven races as the new Toyota Racing Series for 'wings-and-slicks' single-seater racing cars visited Christchurch's Powerbuilt Raceway at Ruapuna Park for the first time today.
After being pipped for pole position late in the morning qualifying session by fellow young gun Ben Harford, kart star Hamilton, 21, made every post a winning one in this afternoon's eight lap race, getting a strong drive off P2 on the grid and leading from start to finish.
Hamilton, who returned to his Christchurch home late last year after spending the past two years living and racing karts in Bahrain and Dubai, got a good start and established an early lead before being virtually guaranteed the win when fastest qualifier Harford was called into the pits to serve a drive through penalty for a driving conduct infringement.
That elevated Palmerston North driver Brendon Hartley to second place which he held to the flag despite some late attention from Teretonga Toyota Racing Series race winner Wade Cunningham.
After the race a delighted Hamilton said that while he wasn't sure whether he got the best start he could, 'if you get to the first corner first it must be a good start!'
"But seriously, " he added. "We haven't really had enough experience (in a single-seater racing car) to know the difference between a good start and a bad start, but we got the jump on Ben and after that it was just a matter of conserving everything and making it to the end."
Also enjoying her most competitive showing in the Toyota Racing Series to date was Hamilton's sister, Fiona. A late addition to the Toyota Racing Series field in a second Karcher-backed car, the 24-year-old qualified and finished in 13th position, crossing the line just behind fellow karter Ben Crighton from Auckland and in front of class veteran Ken Smith and Duane Spurdle.
For Toyota Racing Series points leader Brent Collins from Timaru the race was a matter of making the most of a car set up he never quite got on top off.
"We still have a problem with oversteer," he said afterwards. "We made some changes to the car between qualifying and the race and they cured the understeer we were experiencing but the oversteer was still there."
Despite that Collins made the best of the race, crossing the line in fifth place behind fellow Cantabrian Andy Knight and in front of Tim Edgell and Teretonga round overall winner Chris Pither.
<pre> 2005 Toyota Racing Series Rnd 3 Powerbuilt Raceway at Ruapuna Park Christchurch Sat/Sun Jan 22/23
Qualifying 1. Ben Harford Wellington 1.21.143 2. Matthew Hamilton Christchurch 1.21.160 3. Brendon Hartley Palmerston North 1.21.249 4. Andy Knight Christchurch 1.21.406 5. Wade Cunningham Auckland 1.21.411 6. Brent Collins Timaru 1.21.414 7. James Cressey Queensland 1.21.617 8. Daniel Gaunt Auckland 1.21.692 9. Tim Edgell Auckland 1.21.891 10. Chris Pither Palmerston North 1.21.930 11. Kim Crocker Tauranga 1.22.352 12. Mark Munro Christchurch 1.22.804 13. Fiona Hamilton Christchurch 1.22.842 14. Ben Crighton Auckland 1.23.119 15. Ken Smith Auckland 1.23.195 16. Walter Grubmueller Monaco 1.24.820 DNQ Duane Spurdle Auckland
Race 1 1. Matthew Hamilton 11.05.541 2. Brendon Hartley 11.08.506 3. Wade Cunningham 11.09.057 4. Andy Knight 11.09.057 5. Brent Collins 11.10.954 6. Tim Edgell 11.13.837 7. Chris Pither 11.14.255 8. James Cressey 11.16.145 9. Kim Crocker 11.17.439 10. Daniel Gaunt 11.18.219 11. Ben Harford 11.29.434 12. Ben Crighton 11.30.394 13. Fiona Hamilton 11.34.828 14. Ken Smith 11.35.419 15. Duane Spurdle DNF Mark Munro DNS Walter Grubmueller