Richard Verschoor is first race winner

Verschoor 940x450

Dutch teenager Richard Verschoor won the first race of the Castrol Toyota Racing Series at Ruapuna yesterday, leading from start to finish.

Verschoor surged into the lead in the run to turn one while fastest qualifier Robert Shwartzman from Russia misjudged his start and had to be content with second after stuttering away from the line.

“I was not familiar with the clutch and this was the first dry-weather start so I didn;' get the balance right. That was the main issue,” the 18 year old admitted afterward.

“I don’t think he was so bad,” said 17 year old Verschoor, “but I just got a really good start with a really good reaction time.”

Local driver Marcus Armstrong, also aged 17, finished third after starting fourth. Once he got past Clement Novalak on the fourth lap he managed to close a little on the front runners, but all three were lapping consistently.

Verschoor was a front runner in the series last year and eventually finished third and used that experience to control the race this year.

“I didn’t push to the maximum and certainly think we can get the car performing better tomorrow. I was catching Richard a little,” said the St Petersburg resident, “but I decided to back off and save the tyres for tomorrow morning’s first race.”

“It wasn’t a bad started for the series. Richard and Marcus have experience from last year.”

Armstrong was philosophical about his third place in the race he won 12 months ago. “Last year I won the first race of the series, but then didn’t win the championship. Maybe this year we can make the next 14 races count.”

In his first ever race in a full-size 'wings and slicks' car, Novalak finished fourth, with English driver James Pull fifth and Taylor Cockerton from Pukekohe completing the top six after starting tenth. Cockerton had a good mid race dice with Guyana’s Calvin Ming before getting past and into clear space.

With Verschoor drawing a number four marble for the partial reverse grid in tomorrow morning's race, Novalak lines up on pole with Marcus Armstrong alongside him; Shwartzman starting third.

He will start third in the feature race for the Lady Wigram Trophy tomorrow afternoon, while Shwartzman will again be on pole position.


Castrol Toyota Racing Series, Round 1 Ruapuna, Race 1.

1, R Verschoor (Netherlands);
2, R Shwartzman (Russia);
3, M Armstrong (Christchurch);
4, C Novalak (England);
5, J Pull (England);
6, T Cockerton (Pukekohe);
7, C Ming (Guyana);
8, R Harker (Albany);
9, C Milesi (France);
10, J-M Correa (United States).