As the Toyota Finance 86 Championship heads for its third round this weekend at Hampton Downs leader Tom Alexander (Christchurch) will be looking over his shoulder at the hard chargers behind him.
But one he will not have to factor into his racing strategy will be front-runner Angus Fogg, who has stepped aside from the weekend’s racing due to other commitments, leaving Alexander with a small but valuable ‘breathing space’ in the points.
Fogg won the first round at Cromwell’s Highlands Motorsport Park and remained in contention at Pukekohe, where Alexander put his single-seater experience to good use and took a 24 point lead in the inaugural Toyota Finance 86 Championship, one race win and two podium position finishes enough to edge ahead of Fogg. Alexander now has 382 points.
Fogg’s strong performance at the first round keeps him in the title chase, second on points, but two off-track excursions in the third race at Pukekohe cost him valuable points. He is vacating second place in the championship, and has 358 points going into this round.
Former TRS racer Jamie McNee won the close-fought feature race at Pukekohe and is now third in the championship on 354 points.
In the points battle, these three – all racing in the Elite class – are chased by Amateur class leader Callum Quin, who is fourth overall in the championship on 330 points.
Adding spice to the championship tussle this weekend is another former TRS racer, Andrew Waite, who steps into the ETEC TR 86 run by Trevor Sheumack’s team. The car was driven by experienced open-wheeler and ‘tin-top’ racer Ken Smith at Pukekohe. Smith has been mentoring Tom Alexander, who races under Smith’s usual race number, 11, in this series.
This is the first time the TR 86 cars have shared billing with TRS at a race event, and they will both race next weekend at the 59th New Zealand Grand Prix held at Manfeild near Palmerston North.