Richard Verschoor has surged back into contention for the lead in the Toyota Racing Series with a win in Saturday’s first race at Teretonga in the South Island of New Zealand.
The 17 year old Dutch teenager lies third on the points table after failing to finish the Lady Wigram Trophy race at Ruapuna last Sunday.
“I’ve just got to focus on finishing in front of the others,” said Verschoor. “I can’t change what happened with a technical failure last weekend.”
Verschoor, starting from the outside of the front row of the grid got the jump on pole position man Clement Novalak, making just his fourth standing start of his career.
By the time Novalak exited the first corner he was fourth behind Verschoor, 18 year old Russian Robert Shwartzman and Christchurch’s Marcus Armstrong who won twice at Ruapuna.
The four completed the 20 laps nose to tail with no change in positions, but the front three pushed each other to ever faster lap times in their efforts to unsettle one another and find a way past.
Initially Verschoor got away, but then ran slightly wide out of one corner and the gaps closed up.
“I wanted to save my tyres at the finish,” said Verschoor, who took a narrow win.
Shwartzman and Armstrong both made good starts off the second row of the grid to complete the lockout of the top three places in the same order they finished the first race at Ruapuna.
Novalak had just as much track speed and once he gets his starts dialled in, will become a real threat. Behind him English 17 year old James Pull finished fifth with Florida based Ecuadorian Jean Manuel Correa sixth.
For today’s main race, Armstrong will start on pole, with Novalak alongside him and Shwartzman and Verschoor on the second row of the grid.
Armstrong has a nine points lead in the series, with Verschoor another 42 points back.
Toyota Racing Series, Round 2, Saturday preliminary race:
1, Richard Verschoor (Netherlands);
2, Robert Shwartzman (Russia);
3, Marcus Armstrong (Christchurch);
4, Clement Novalak (England);
5, James Pull (England);
6, Jean-Manuel Correa (USA);
7, Brendon Leitch (Invercargill);
8, Reid Harker (Albany);
9, Cameron Das (USA);
10, Calvin Ming (Guyana).