Hamilton Emerges as Toyota Racing Series Title Threat Young Christchurch driver Matthew Hamilton emerged as a genuine title threat at the third round of the new Toyota Racing Series for 'wings-and-slicks' single-seater racing cars at ...
Hamilton Emerges as Toyota Racing Series Title Threat
Young Christchurch driver Matthew Hamilton emerged as a genuine title threat at the third round of the new Toyota Racing Series for 'wings-and-slicks' single-seater racing cars at Christchurch's Powerbuilt Raceway at Ruapuna Park today.
After a debut series win over fastest qualifier Ben Harford in the weekend's first Toyota Racing Series race on Saturday afternoon the 21-year-old kart star won the second class race of the weekend this morning from fellow front row starter Daniel Gaunt, then finished second to series pace-setter Brent Collins in the 12 lap weekend final in the afternoon.
The result was the overall win for the round from third race winner Collins and and Teretonga round race winner Wade Cunningham.
Speaking after the final 12 lap race today Hamilton agreed that it was a 'very good' weekend.
"Yes," he said, "we're pretty happy with it; we qualified reasonably well yesterday - could have hoped for a little bit better but we were second on the grid so that was OK - and first race today we had a win which was good then a second in the last race so I can't really complain, can I?"
Hamilton said that he was 'reasonably confident' going into today's first race and that once he had beaten fellow front row starter Daniel Gaunt to the first corner ' I decided to just put my head down and go.'
Championship points leader Collins struggled to get a workable car set up on Saturday but on his way to fifth place set the sixth fastest lap time, meaning he started today's first race from P6 on the grid.
From there he worked his way up to third place and - the icing on the cake - set the fastest race lap time, meaning he started the 16 lap final from pole position.
That was all the encouragement the 29-year-old former New Zealand Pro 7 champ needed and he crossed the line just over four seconds in front of Hamilton who in turn a healthy six second buffer on second row starter Daniel Gaunt.
"The car was very neutral and very enjoyable to drive today," Collins said. "The problem yesterday was that the pit bay set up pad we used yesterday wasn't square. Once we squared it up on Mark Petch's platform the corner weights were up the wop. When we found that out we went back to a base setting, nothing special, but from then on in the car was great. I'm rapt. "
Behind Hamilton, Gaunt and Collins in the first race today came local youngster Andy Knight from former World Kart champ Wade Cunningham, reigning New Zealand Formula Ford champion Tim Edgell and Kim Crocker.
Cunningham finished fourth in the final race behind Collins, Hamilton and Gaunt and in front of an on-form Crocker, Knight, Ben Harford and Brendon Hartley.
After three rounds over three consecutive meetings the Toyota Racing Series now takes a break for just under a month before resuming at the Mike Pero Mortgages' Motorsport NZ Tier 1 meeting at Feilding's Manfeild Raceway over the Feb 19/20 weekend.
<pre> 2005 Toyota Racing Series Rnd 3 Powerbuilt Raceway at Ruapuna Park Christchurch Sat/Sun Jan 22/23
Race 2 1. Matthew Hamilton 12.13.012 2. Daniel Gaunt 12.14.040 3. Brent Collins 12.14.255 4. Wade Cunningham 12.18.121 5. Wade Cunningham 12.18.121 6. Tim Edgell 12.19.243 7. Kim Crocker 12.19.894 8. James Cressey 12.20.295 9. Ken Smith 12.21.560 10. Mark Munro 12.24.234 11. Walter Grubmueller 12.24.571 12. Ben Crighton 12.25.460 13. Brendon Hartley 12.25.691 14. Duane Spurdle 12.31.903 15. Fiona Hamilton 12.32.244 16. Chris Pither 13.04.922
Race 3 1. Brent Collins 16.24.123 2. Matthew Hamilton 16.28.251 3. Daniel Gaunt 16.35.488 4. Wade Cunningham 16.37.229 5. Kim Crocker 16.40.839 6. Andy Knight 16.42.127 7. Ben Harford 16.42.668 8. Brendon Hartley 16.42.940 9. James Cressey 16.43.724 10. Chris Pither 16.44.766 11. Tim Edgell 16.45.270 12. Ken Smith 16.47.537 13. Ben Crighton 16.53.561 14. Walter Grubmueller 16.54.934 15. Fiona Hamilton 17.12.897 DNF Duane Spurdle
Points after Round Three of Six 1. Brent Collins 578 points 2. Matthew Hamilton 506 3. Daniel Gaunt 478 4. Brendon Hartley 431 5. Wade Cunningham 424 6. Andy Knight 377 7. Chris Pither 354 8. Ban Harford 334 9. James Cressey 320 10. Kim Crocker 311 11. Ben Crighton 282 12. Ken Smith 273 13. Tim Edgell 238 14. Fiona Hamilton 222 15. Walter Grubmeuller 200 16. Duane Spurdle 144 17. Mark Munro 114
Young Driver of the Year
(NZ passport holder under the age of 30 as at Jan 1 2005) 1. Brent Collins 587 points 2. Matthew Hamilton 506 3. Daniel Gaunt 487 4. Brendon Hartley 444 5. Wade Cunningham 427 6. Andy Knight 384 7. Chris Pither 370 8. Ben Harford 349 9. James Cressey 331 10. Fiona Hamilton 283 11. Tim Edgell 258
Next race: Rnd 4: Manfeild Autocourse, Feilding, Feb 19-20