Racing from pole position, Auckland’s Matt Gibson put in a flawless drive to win the first race of the 2014-2015 Toyota Finance 86 Championship this afternoon at Taupo’s Ricoh Motorsport Park.
Gibson and defending champion Jamie McNee shared the front row, and McNee put in a determined charge off the line as the race started, aiming to go around the outside of Gibson.
Through the rest of that first lap Gibson extended his lead, with McNee hanging on behind him. The pair made a break on the field as the first lap finished.
Blewett headed a chasing pack of four cars but quickly broke free to secure third and chase down McNee and Gibson.
Tom Alexander found himself fourth but unable to pursue the leaders, while Marcus Armstrong and Neil Allport were locked in battle further down the field.
Jamie McNee lost touch with Gibson, then managed to claw his way back to be .556 seconds behind Gibson at the finish. Ashley Blewett was third, also setting fastest lap of the race, a 1:42.258 on the last lap. First rookie was Waiuku’s Cory Holmes, sixth overall.
There are two races tomorrow with a marble draw putting Cory Holmes on pole for the first Sunday race.