NZ: TRS final round Sunday notes

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

-fast company-

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About this article
Series Road racing
Drivers Chris Amon , Barrie Thomlinson , Wade Cunningham , Walter Grubmuller , Matthew Hamilton , Daniel Gaunt , Chris Pither , Brendon Hartley , Ben Crighton
Teams Toyota Racing