INAUGURAL TOYOTA RACING SERIES WON BY COLLINS Timaru driver Brent Collins has taken out the first-ever Toyota Racing Series title as the new 'wings and slicks' series was wrapped up as part of the Placemakers V8 International event at ...
INAUGURAL TOYOTA RACING SERIES WON BY COLLINS
Timaru driver Brent Collins has taken out the first-ever Toyota Racing Series title as the new 'wings and slicks' series was wrapped up as part of the Placemakers V8 International event at Pukekohe.
The 29-year-old former South Island Formula Ford title holder proved his talents behind the wheel of the new Toyota Tatuus race car, securing ten top three finishes in the 17-race, six round series. Collins won the most races -- five -- and amassed 942 points, 38 points ahead of his closest rival Andy Knight from Christchurch.
In the final race of the series, Collins needed to finish eleventh or better to secure the title and become the inaugural recipient of the Chris Amon trophy, so having started from fifth on the grid, he simply needed to race without incident to the chequered flag.
Daniel Gaunt had pole position for the 16-lap race courtesy of having set the fastest time of 55.584 -- which also became the first official lap record for the Toyota class at Pukekohe -- during Saturday's 12-lap race. When the flag dropped Gaunt didn't have the best start, allowing Wade Cunningham to jump past him. But within a few corners, Gaunt had grabbed the lead back from Cunningham and held the position with relative ease right through to the chequered flag and scoring his first official win of the series.
Cunningham chased Gaunt for many laps, but slowly dropped down the field and then out of the race, allowing Harford, who had started in seventh place and drove determinedly through the field to take second place.
Collins said he was happy to let Brendon Hartley and Ben Harford past.
"I was driving for the series' win. It's been a brilliant series and it's great to have taken the overall win. The prizes aren't bad either."
Collins receives the Chris Amon Trophy and a brand-new Toyota Celica as the winner of 2005 Toyota Racing Series. And as the winner of the Young Driver of the Year, Collins also pockets a $20,000 cash prize.
"Yes, that was nice to get the Young Driver award too. Having had to buy another chassis after the Manfeild incident, the cash has certainly come in handy!"
Toyota Racing Series category manager, Barrie Thomlinson said: "It's just been a fantastic series. We're thrilled that it actually went down to the last round to finally determine the title winner, but Collins deserved the win. He'd driven with talent and commitment and strategy and that's what we've enjoyed seeing."
<pre> 2005 Toyota Racing Series -- Race Two, Sunday 17 April
Pos Driver Hometown Fastest Lap 1, Daniel Gaunt Auckland 55.901 2, Ben Harford Wellington 55.783 3, Andy Knight Christchurch 55.918 4, Brendon Hartley Palmerston North 55.761 5, Brent Collins Timaru 56.499 6, Chris Pither Palmerston North 56.305 7, James Cressey Auckland 56.497 8, Matthew Hamilton Christchurch 56.517 9, Tim Edgell Auckland 56.672 10, Ken Smith Auckland 56.960 11, Ben Crighton Auckland 56.827 12, Andrew Higgins Auckland 56.680 13, Duane Spurdle Auckland 56.922 14, Fiona Hamilton Christchurch 59.686 DNF Kim Crocker Tauranga DNF Mark Munro Christchurch DNF Wade Cunningham Auckland
2005 Toyota Racing Series Provisional Points
Pos Driver Hometown Final Points 1, Brent Collins Timaru 942 2, Andy Knight Christchurch 904 3, Daniel Gaunt Auckland 874 4, Brendon Hartley Palmerston Nth 861 5, Chris Pither Palmerston Nth 782 6, Matthew Hamilton Christchurch 755 7, Ben Harford Lower Hutt 748 8, James Cressey Auckland 601 9, Wade Cunningham Auckland 589 10, Ben Crighton Auckland 563 11, Ken Smith Auckland 493 12, Tim Edgell Auckland 475 13, Kim Crocker Tauranga 468 14, Fiona Hamilton Christchurch 398 15, Duane Spurdle Auckland 367 16, Mark Munro Christchurch 221 17, Andrew Higgins Auckland 220 18, Walter Grubmuller Monaco 200