Yardley extends Toyota 86 Championship lead at Teretonga

Published 21 January 2017

Two race wins for CareVets driver Ryan Yardley – and one for his team-mate Jack Milligan – have handed the team a clean sweep at the fourth round of the Toyota 86 Championship.

The weekend began well for championship leader Yardley, who won the first race after an early battle with challenger Reid Harker.

In the second race of the weekend, Jaden Ransley had pole thanks to an eight car reverse grid drawn by race one winner Ryan Yardley. Off the start, he defended from a hard-charging Andy Knight through most of a lap but was then swamped by Knight, jack Milligan and Jacob Smith.

Yardley was buried in the pack having started off P8.

Behind the leaders Mike Lightfoot, unsighted in the drizzle, swept past Miles Cockram into turn one, but then sledged off the road and rolled the SEW Eurodrive car in a gravel trap.

Once the Lightfoot car had been recovered, the race resumed with Knight leading, though he soon came under attack from Milligan.

Knight lost the lead to Milligan with Jacob Smith also following the CareVets car and stepping up to second overall. Out front Milligan was in control and he was never headed, taking his first Toyota 86 Championship race win. Second for Smith was his best finish in the championship, while Knight was third and Ransley had held on to fourth in a determined drive.

Then in the final race of the weekend, Yardley put in a sensational drive to carve through the field, overtaking

Michael Scott and Ryan Yardley set the early pace, but a three car ‘draft’ of John Penny, Jacob Smith and Reid Harker chased them down and the five cars duelled going into turn one, with Penny and Smith going two-wide right through the turn.

Matt Hamilton crashed at turn one, bringing out the safety car, and when he regained the track Scott controlled the rolling restart but slowly fell back as Yardley put on the pace to go past Smith and then Scott, Harker hanging on behind.

Through the second half of the race Yardley defended his lead from repeated assaults and ran to the flag the winner by 1.6 seconds.

The Toyota 86 Championship now takes a two week break and rejoins the Castrol Toyota Racing Series at the New Zealand Grand Prix in mid-February. The NZGP is the penultimate round of the TR 86 championship, which ends at Hampton Downs in the north Waikato in March.

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