Drivers set new Pukekohe benchmarks as Motor Cup testing begins

Lawson Puke day 1 (940 x450)

The Castrol Toyota Racing Series drivers cut the fastest laps ever recorded of the extended version of the Pukekohe Park circuit today as the first practice sessions of this weekend's New Zealand Motor Cup meeting got underway.

It is the first time in over a decade that the series has visited the iconic circuit and also the first time any contemporary single seater championship has run on the extended layout which features the new right-left complex half way down the old back straight

It was championship protagonists Igor Fraga and Liam Lawson of M2 Motorsports (pictured) who picked up their battle for the title and they dominated the times for much of the session before Argentina's Franco Colapinto - who won his first race in the championship last weekend at Hampton Downs - clocked a 1 minute .935 lap to pip Brazilian Caio Collet by just over a tenth of a second. Both drivers clocked 28 laps during the quicker final session of the day.

Red Bull Junior Yuki Tsunoda was next up a further tenth behind, while Fraga and Lawson rounded out the top five, but did not do as much running as the top three on the timesheets.

Ido Cohen looked strong with the sixth fastest time after 20 laps, with Oliver Rasmussen seventh, Jackson Walls eighth and Emilien Denner and Grégoire Saucy rounding out the top ten.

Fraga had earlier topped the first session from Lawson and Rasmussen, though nobody was aiming for fast times on the initial first runs around the iconic track.

Friday will bring three further sessions for the 18 drivers to hone their set up and get their eye in for the weekend, which includes two qualifying sessions and three races, the last of which will be for the New Zealand Motor Cup on Sunday afternoon.