Alexander takes early Toyota 86 Championship lead at Pukekohe

Published 6 November 2017

Bombay’s Tom Alexander has set his mark of the opening round of the 2017-2018 Toyota 86 Championship, taking an early points lead with two wins and a second place.

In a weekend that went from drenching rain showers to sweltering sun, Alexander showed supreme form with three clean races to amass 210 points. Christchurch racer Jack Milligan is provisionally second overall, though his involvement in racing incidents during Sunday’s final race is being reviewed.

Milligan was the class of Saturday morning’s 12 lap race, heading home pole man Connor Adam to be the first championship leader of the series.

Third was Tom Alexander, the 2015 Toyota 86 Champion. There were close calls and incidents for several competitors. In Saturday’s second race it was Tom Alexander’s turn to swarm through to the lead in light rain. Alexander survived a close moment when Cameron Hill, who had been second at the start, speared off the circuit and then re-crossed it at high speed. His car slid across the track in front of the whole field but the Australian was then able to bring it to amhalt on the slippery infield grass.

From outside of pole position on Sunday, and in hot sunny conditions, it was once more Alexander’s turn to shine. He overtook pole man Bramwell King in the esses and then held the lead from Railway Corner.

Behind him the pack swarmed toward King as they headed down the back straight. Milligan was past King to chase down Alexander, Australian Cameron Hill held fourth and was looking for a podium finish. Hill overtook King, but then contact between the two sent the Australian driver into the wall and his race was over.

Out front Reid Harker was closing on Milligan and Alexander. At the deviation in the back straight Milligan made a bold move to go around the outside of Alexander, who held his line and his lead as Milligan slid onto the grass. Harker now pounced and too second place, the Alexander-Harker pairing then establishing a break on the field. Milligan ended up eighth.

Jordan Baldwin set fastest time of the race- and thus the weekend, a 1:16.913 on lap 8. The soon afterward spun into the tyre wall, recovering the track to finish 10th.

Then as Milligan tried to regain the places he had lost, he slid wide again at the same place, rejoining the race sideways and nudging Michael Scott off the circuit. Both were able to continue.

There was no stopping Alexander though; the Bombay local taking a lead of almost three seconds to the chequered flag. Harker followed through second overall and Connor Adam was third.

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