Aucklander Michael Scott has converted pole position to his first win of the 2017-2018 Toyota 86 Championship at Taupo today (Saturday).
The race start saw Scott get away cleanly with young Christchurch racer Jaden Ransley locking on behind him; Scott’s International Motorsport team-mate Connor Adam safely third and Jordan Baldwin fourth.
As a massive thunderstorm gathered in the air over nearby Taupo, there were anxious faces in pit row gauging the odds for a mid-race deluge.
Championship leader Tom Alexander found himself embroiled in mid-field battles and was only able to hold station. A tangle with another car left him with bent steering and an ill-handling car.
Midway through lap one, Jack Milligan had surged through to third overall, his eyes on the extra points that would help him close the get to Championship leader Tom Alexander.
Scott, second placed Ransley and Milligan then put on a masterclass demonstration of clean, close racing at the front while behind them Ben MacDonald sought a way past Jordan Baldwin.
Further back Tom Alexander fought his way past Bramwell King in the second CareVets car.
It was Michael Scott who took the win, punching the air in sheer joy as he crossed the line. He was almost a second clear of Jaden Ransley and more than three seconds clear of third-placed Jack Milligan.
The rain that had threatened the race rolled across the course 45 minutes after the race had finished.
Afterward, Scott said improvements the team has made to car set-up meant the race was relatively easy to control right from the start.
“We found a lot of improvements over our pace here last year and the Hankook tyres are great on a technical course like this because they allow you to move the car around a little without losing time or grip. This makes up for the hard time we had at the first round,” he said.
Scott also took fastest lap of the day, a 1:43.222.
Jaden Ransley’s close second placing behind Scott and his tenacious defence of that position from a charging Jack Milligan showcases at the young racer’s potential.
The finish order of race one decided the start order for race two, with a partial reverse grid thrown in to liven up the championship. The extent of the reverse grid is decided by a marble drawn at prize-giving for the race by the race winner. Michael Scott drew a maximum four marble and will start from P4 tomorrow morning. The reverse grid puts his team-mate Connor Adam on pole with Jack Milligan alongside him. Jaden Ransley will start third.
Tom Alexander still leads the championship, but has a task ahead of him in tomorrow’s first race where he starts from seventh.