Bleak Weather Tests Drivers' Resolve


Cold wind and brief rain squalls gave the 23 drivers of the 2014 Toyota Racing Series food for thought today in the final three tests for the opening round of the championship.

When rain lashed the 2.87 km track, drivers slipped off the tarmac repeatedly, bringing out red flags and disrupting proceedings. But when the track dried even slightly, the times quickly fell close to yesterday’s best.

Fastest across the three 30 minute test sessions today was Russian driver Egor Orudzhev, racing with defending champion team M2 Competition.  He set a time of 55.158 in the first session, and remained in the top five in the other sessions.Te Puke’s Michael Scott was fastest New Zealander, ninth overall on 55.834. The top ten in the first session were all within the 55 second bracket.

American Ryan Tveter was fastest in the second session as rain made the track slick. Damon Leitch was fastest New Zealand driver, 6th overall on 56.427.

Steijn Schothorst was fastest in the rain-affected third session, the returning racer edging out Gustavo Lima and Martin Kodric despite frequent disruptions as cars were recovered from the gravel traps. The fastest New Zealander in that seassion was James Munro, 6th overall on 1:00.952.

The race lap record for Teretonga stands at 54.282, set in 2013 by Austrian driver Lucas Auer.

The Toyota Racing Series cars return to the track tomorrow for qualifying at 11.00 with two 15 minute sessions ‘back to back’. Race one of the 2014 Toyota Racing Series is over 15 laps and starts at 3.00 pm NZDST. The race weekend continues on Sunday with a second 15 lap race at 11.00 am and the  20 lap feature race for the Spirit of the Nation Cup is at 3.00 pm New Zealand Daylight Saving Time (NZDST).