Tom Alexander, making a ‘cameo’ drive at the final round of the Toyota 86 Championship, has stepped up to the top step of the podium as if he never left it.
Alexander, the 2014-2015 Toyota Finance 86 Championship winner, took pole position in the morning’s rain-shortened qualifying session, then late this afternoon showed the championship grid his race pedigree, getting a perfect start from pole and dominating the 10 lap race.
Championship leader Ryan Yardley of Christchurch had qualified second but – in his own words – ‘stuffed up’ the start, getting too much wheelspin which enabled Reid Harker to put his car’s nose up the inside going into the first turn.
Yardley showed his class at that point – rather than panic and try to regain second place at any cost, he let his car settle into the race and kept the pressure on Harker – a cunning strategic move that minimised Harker’s advantage in the points battle.
Behind them Brody McConkey had the Castrol/Albany Toyota TR 86 in the running as well, sitting fourth and clear of a developing battle behind him between leading rookie Jack Milligan and Michael Scott.
Scott took two runs at Milligan to overtake the CareVets Racing Team scholarship driver and right to the final lap Milligan was fighting back, trying to find a way past the experienced Scott.
The result narrows the points gap between Yardley and Harker to 67. Tomorrow’s second championship race is a partial reverse grid with the top places decided by marble draw. Race one winner Tom Alexander drew a number 6 marble, putting him P6 with Harker P5 and giving CareVets’ Jack Milligan pole with Michael Scott alongside.