COLLINS HOLDS LEAD FOR TOYOTA RACING SERIES FINALE Young drivers Andy Knight and Daniel Gaunt dominated the penultimate race of the inaugural Toyota Racing Series at the Placemakers V8 Supercar meeting at Pukekohe's Pukekohe Park Raceway today...
COLLINS HOLDS LEAD FOR TOYOTA RACING SERIES FINALE
Young drivers Andy Knight and Daniel Gaunt dominated the penultimate race of the inaugural Toyota Racing Series at the Placemakers V8 Supercar meeting at Pukekohe's Pukekohe Park Raceway today but it is long-time series leader Timaru driver Brent Collins who still holds a 49 point advantage going into the series finale tomorrow.
Auckland-based Gaunt had pole position for the first of two Toyota Racing Series' races during the Placemakers V8 International this weekend with Christchurch's Knight beside him on the front row of the grid. Aucklander Wade Cunningham was in third with series leader Collins in fourth.
Knight got away to a flying start, driving around the outside of Gaunt into the first corner, but Gaunt caught and passed Knight by the end of the first lap and kept his focus to hold the lead until the chequered flag. But officials judged Gaunt had jumped the start and he was penalised five seconds, dropping him to second and allowing Knight to take first place and maximum points.
Collins had moved up from fourth to third soon after the start, with Cunningham having dropped from third to fifth, so the 60 points for third place were a valuable contribution towards Collins being able to maintain a lead over Knight who now moves into second place in the points table.
Further down the field Ben Harford, who had set the fastest time during Friday morning's test session, had been unable to set a competitive qualifying time due to a minor mechanical issue and started from the back of the grid. Harford, who scored a break-through win at the previous round of the Toyota Racing Series at Manfeild, drove hard to make up eight places within four laps and held on for ninth at the chequered flag.
The Toyota Racing Series finishes with a 16-lap race as part of Sunday's Placemakers V8 International event at Pukekohe tomorrow. Gaunt is on pole again, courtesy of having set the fastest lap time during the first race. Harford will be beside Gaunt on the front row of the grid, with Knight in third, Brendon Hartley in fourth and Collins in fifth. At this stage, Collins needs to finish eleventh or better to win the title.
<pre> 2005 Toyota Racing Series -- Race One
Pos Driver Hometown Fastest Lap 1, Andy Knight Christchurch 55.723 2, Daniel Gaunt Auckland 55.584 3, Brent Collins Timaru 56.042 4, Chris Pither Palmerston North 56.620 5, Wade Cunningham Auckland 55.620 6, Tim Edgell Auckland 56.164 7, James Cressey Auckland 56.064 8, Brendon Hartley Palmerston North 55.775 9, Ben Harford Wellington 55.692 10, Matthew Hamilton Christchurch 56.667 11, Ken Smith Auckland 56.365 12, Duane Spurdle Auckland 57.230 13, Andrew Higgins Auckland 56.997 14, Kim Crocker Tauranga 57.297 15, Ben Crighton Auckland 57.121 16, Fiona Hamilton Christchurch 59.993 DNS Mark Munro Christchurch