Newsletter from Hampton Downs
Bob McMurray Toyota Racing New Zealand Ambassador, writes from the third round of the Toyota Racing Series round at Hampton Downs…..
The competition for this season has been stunning in its quality and very competitive in the driving so it is not so surprising that there will be accidents and collisions and aggressive driving.
The New Zealand Motor Cup race had all of that, plus safety car interludes and a red flag.
To run quickly through the race ….
Thomas Randle made a great start from pole position and kept an almost equally good starting Jehan Daruvala behind him as they entered turn #1.
On lap #2 Vaidyanathan went off track at the exit of turn #1 so the safety car was called into action as was the crane to lift the car on to the back of a truck.
No real damage but the driver had exited the car so removal was the only answer. Driver OK.
End of lap #6 and the safety car was in handing the control of the restart to Randle with Daravula right on his tail.
Daruvala then lost a bit of concentration it seemed and Habsburg muscled his way through.
On lap #7 we saw the car of Marcus Armstrong come to a halt on the outside of turn #8 with broken rear right suspension and TV replays showed that he was most probably hit by Verschoor who had to come to the pits to have his front left suspension checked, wheel changed and new nose fitted (on the car of course not him).
It also appeared that his rear right tyre had a large chunk out of it so he could have been prompted to hit Armstrong by some help from behind, possibly Laliberte.
Verschoor rejoined the fray at the rear of the field at the restart without losing a lap but eventually finishing 12th, but then copped a 30 second penalty for the incident that dropped him to 16th, taking a hit to his championship points lead which had been looking good after Randle, Piquet and Daruvala were unable to score high points in previous races.
At the restart Randle had it all covered as Habsburg tried to move inside of him at turn #1 with Daruvala and Piquet in close formation.
At turn #8 Leitch and Enders were stopped and parked on the track after another coming together but both got going eventually under their own steam and both came into the pits.
Enders was quickly back out on track but Leitch lost a number of laps before he was able to rejoin.
Piquet then got past Daruvala on lap #9.
Car #22 Verschoor was issued with a warning by race control for crossing the pit entry lane marker.
Lap #16 Piquet began an attack on Habsburg for 2nd place.
Randle took advantage of their private battle and extended his lead to more than 2.5 seconds.
Piquet gets past Habsburg with two laps left to go.
On the last lap Enders fell off the road and parked but it was too late to call a safety car.
Daruvala was coming on strong and on the very last lap Piquet briefly went off course and dropped to fifth where he would finish the race.
A pretty happy Thomas Randle came home in first place to win not only the New Zealand Motor Cup, presented by the ‘Cup Guardian’ Eric Mallard, but a beautiful Tissot ‘Quickster’ watch presented by Peter Buckleigh of GMB watches Auckland.
Ferdinand Habsburg came home second and as the first runner up he was awarded the ‘Lewis Eady Challenge Cup’.
Jehan Daruvala came home an eventual third after an eventful race.
Randle had been looking at the NZ Motor Cup for a long time before the race, inspecting each and every name on it and commented to me that it was a trophy he dearly desired having missed out in 2015.
The smile on the face and the enthusiastic champagne spraying was testament to how good he felt at finally getting his hands on it.
Thomas Randle also became the round three winner with 177 points narrowly beating Pedro Piquet with 176 points and in third was Enaam Ahmed with 157 points.
After the race Verschoor had this to say ……..
“The last race should have been good, I got a good start, was up to third then back to P4 by the end of lap 1. Then there was a safety car and after the restart I was defending but someone still came past up the inside he couldn’t make the corner, I had to turn in as there was someone outside me and another car came inside and I was squeezed between the two, damaging my steering, tyre and front wing.”
“I went for the pits for repairs, came back out and got back up to twelfth but was then penalised for cutting across the pit lane entry line and that dropped me to 16th and cost me a lot of points. Still, head up and on to the next event,” concluded Verschoor.
The other major finishing positions are detailed below in John Coker’s media release.
Frankly a great race, all the way down the field on a track that yesterday evening was looking in bad shape but the Hampton Downs crew did a great job in resealing the surface on turn #2 overnight.
I watched the race from race control and, you know, those guys do a great job, especially the assistant Clerk of the Course Debbie Day.
The weekend started with a points lead of 58 for Verschoor over Randle and 91 over Piquet and those differences are now 23 points and 47 respectively.
We have two more rounds of the Castrol Toyota Racing series to go, at Taupo next weekend and the Grand Prix meeting at Manfeild the weekend after and things are really going to serious.
See you there.