Lady Wigram Trophy win kicks off close fought 2015 championship

Published 23 January 2015

Canadian Lance Stroll became the youngest winner of the Lady Wigram Trophy race at the opening round of the 2015 Toyota Racing Series held at Ruapuna.

The 16-year-old son of Canadian clothing industry billionaire Lawrence Stroll convincingly won the feature race of the weekend and now leads the five-round series after also winning the opening race on Saturday afternoon and finishing fourth in race two yesterday morning.

"It's really nice to have a great weekend," said Stroll, whose parents - holidaying in New Zealand in an enormous motor home - were among the Ruapuna crowd.

"We were certainly not the quickest in testing leading up to the weekend but we put it together on the day winning two races, so [I'm] extremely happy for the team."

Stroll, who won the Italian Formula 4 championship last year, took the lead early in an incident-packed and close-fought feature race for one of New Zealand's oldest and most prestigious motorsport trophies, dating back to 1951. Pole man Sam Macleod, a BRDC Rising Stars programme inductee, slid off the track and was forced to fight his way back into the race.

There was bitter disappointment for Christchurch driver James Munro, who had carved through to be second behind the flying Canadian after eight laps only to spin away his challenge for the race lead, eventually finishing 12th. He had drawn closer and closer to the Canadian lap by lap and was just .8 of a second behind the Canadian when his car entered disturbed air behind Stroll’s rear wing and lost grip.

"It was a really tough race," Munro said. "It was my mistake in some of the hardest conditions of the weekend. I got close to Lance but went into the corner too hard and the car under-steered and the wind made the car too unstable on the exit."

His place was taken by young Indian driver Arjun Maini, who repeated his lightning form of the first two races, staying clear of major multiple-car incidents in the opening laps to build a credible challenge for the podium. In the closing laps he defended his position with maturity when GP2 Series regular Artem Markelov surged through to third and began to erode Maini's gap.

Pole man Sam Macleod, one of many who spun out of the race in dramatic dusty incidents, fought back to be fifth overall and set fastest lap of the race, a 1:18.236.

The first New Zealand driver was Southland's Brendon Leitch, who finished ninth. Committed to the southern rounds, Brendon Leitch is still to finalise full funding for the sixteen race, five round championship. His brother Damon, who had shown early pace, spun off the track while chasing the leaders and ended the race one lap down on the other 13 finishers.

The new race lap record for TRS was set by Austrian Stefan Riener, who posted a 1:17.310, resetting the benchmark set by Scott Pye in 2011, a 1:19.429 in the previous TRS FT40.

The Toyota Racing Series now heads for round two at Invercargill on the Teretonga Park Raceway, the southernmost permanent race circuit in the world.

Canadian Lance Stroll became the youngest winner of the Lady Wigram Trophy race at the opening round of the 2015 Toyota Racing Series held at Ruapuna.

 

The 16-year-old son of Canadian clothing industry billionaire Lawrence Stroll convincingly won the feature race of the weekend and now leads the five-round series after also winning the opening race on Saturday afternoon and finishing fourth in race two yesterday morning.

"It's really nice to have a great weekend," said Stroll, whose parents - holidaying in New Zealand in an enormous motor home - were among the Ruapuna crowd.

"We were certainly not the quickest in testing leading up to the weekend but we put it together on the day winning two races, so [I'm] extremely happy for the team."

Stroll, who won the Italian Formula 4 championship last year, took the lead early in an incident-packed and close-fought feature race for one of New Zealand's oldest and most prestigious motorsport trophies, dating back to 1951. Pole man Sam Macleod, a BRDC Rising Stars programme inductee, slid off the track and was forced to fight his way back into the race.

There was bitter disappointment for Christchurch driver James Munro, who had carved through to be second behind the flying Canadian after eight laps only to spin away his challenge for the race lead, eventually finishing 12th. He had drawn closer and closer to the Canadian lap by lap and was just .8 of a second behind the Canadian when his car entered disturbed air behind Stroll’s rear wing and lost grip.

"It was a really tough race," Munro said. "It was my mistake in some of the hardest conditions of the weekend. I got close to Lance but went into the corner too hard and the car under-steered and the wind made the car too unstable on the exit."

His place was taken by young Indian driver Arjun Maini, who repeated his lightning form of the first two races, staying clear of major multiple-car incidents in the opening laps to build a credible challenge for the podium. In the closing laps he defended his position with maturity when GP2 Series regular Artem Markelov surged through to third and began to erode Maini's gap.

Pole man Sam Macleod, one of many who spun out of the race in dramatic dusty incidents, fought back to be fifth overall and set fastest lap of the race, a 1:18.236.

The first New Zealand driver was Southland's Brendon Leitch, who finished ninth. Committed to the southern rounds, Brendon Leitch is still to finalise full funding for the sixteen race, five round championship. His brother Damon, who had shown early pace, spun off the track while chasing the leaders and ended the race one lap down on the other 13 finishers.

The new race lap record for TRS was set by Austrian Stefan Riener, who posted a 1:17.310, resetting the benchmark set by Scott Pye in 2011, a 1:19.429 in the previous TRS FT40.

The Toyota Racing Series now heads for round two at Invercargill on the Teretonga Park Raceway, the southernmost permanent race circuit in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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