Canadian teen Lance Stroll continues to lead the 2015 Toyota Racing Series after key rival Arjun Maini was unable to close the gap in racing at Taupo on Saturday.
Stroll, who is being dubbed ‘Mr Consistency” by media, took a third placing in the first race on Saturday morning and backed that with fourth in the afternoon’s race. He has led the series from the first race and, apart from one DNF, has not finished outside the top five in 12 races.
“I’m trying to be consistent, making sure of getting points in every race,” he said after Saturday’s races. Stroll knows the importance of qualifying well and is vowing to place himself at the front of the grid in this orning’s qualifying session.
With five races remaining in the series – two of which are still to run at Taupo – he is positioning himself to take the title.
With 150 points on offer for wins in two races, Taupo can swing the championship toward or away from the current leader.
Behind him, Maini is still well within reach of the points lead and young American Santino Ferrucci is increasingly competitive, posting a pair of second placings. Australian Thomas Randle posted fastest time in the first race and set a new lap record with a 1:24.382, eclipsing the 1:24.444 set by British driver Jordan King in 2012.
The Saturday races were won by British driver Sam MacLeod – who took his first TRS victory the previous weekend at Hampton Downs – and Stroll’s team-mate, Brandon Maisano.
Russian GP2 driver Artem Markelov ended Saturday with a damaged car after his car and the car of Christchurch driver James Munro tangled on the start of Taupo’s long back straight, where cars accelerate to speeds of 230 km/h or more.
The impact propelled Markelov’s car into the air in a spectacular rollover, bringing out the safety car while the two stricken cars were recovered. Both drivers were checked by ambulance staff.
Though shaken by the rollover, Markelov is expected to be able to restart for Sunday’s races at 1.30 and 3.30 pm.
Team-mate to New Zealand’s Mitch Evans in GP2 last year, Markelov has been showing increasing speed in this year’s TRS Championship and has made a name as a clean and fast opponent on-track.