South Americans thrive in Pukekohe heat

Caio Puke (940 x 450)

South American drivers were right at home in the intense heatwave gripping New Zealand and dominated the second day of practice ahead of this weekend's fourth round of the Castrol Toyota Racing Series at Pukekohe Park.

Brazilians Caio Collet (mtec Motorsport engineered by R-Ace GP), championship leader Igor Fraga (M2 Competition) and Hampton Downs winner Franco Colapinto of Argentina headed the first session and the second and third respectively.

It was Collet who claimed the day's quickest time, a scintillating 1 minute .665 second lap. This was the fastest lap of the series' visit to the iconic Pukekohe circuit so far and the fastest recorded on the circuit's new configuration by any open wheel racing car.

It was an up and down day for Collet, however, as he gave his team plenty of work to do by hitting the wall on the final corner in the second session. He missed the third and final session of the day as a result of his off. Although it did sustain some damage to the gearbox and front suspension, the car is expected to be back on the circuit for Saturday.

Championship leader Igor Fraga topped the second session but was focussed on longer runs rather than outright lap times. Colapinto was fast throughout the third session but left his best run until the dying moments of the session to dip under the 1 minute 1 second lap and record a 1 minute .793 lap, which narrowly beat an impressive Lirim Zendeli, who looked much stronger at the challenging track than he had on Thursday.

Jackson Walls of Australia bagged the second quickest time of the opening session that ended up being the third fast time of the day. He enjoyed a solid day of running. Fraga's nearest challenger Liam Lawson avoided clocking fast laps, instead focussing on quick sectors and a bit of gamesmanship ahead of Saturday morning’s qualifying for the first race in the afternoon.