Sixteen year old continues to set GP pace
Sixteen year old Tijmen van der Helm maintained his eye-catching pace from the Thursday sessions, topping both the first and final sessions of the day to mark him and his Kiwi Motorsport team as one of the favourites for the New Zealand Grand Prix this weekend at the Circuit Chris Amon - Manfeild.
The sixteen year old produced the best time of the day in the cooler and quicker morning session with a 1 minute 3.2 second lap. Ido Cohen and Jackson Walls both had excursions which interrupted the session although Walls still ended the session with the eighth fastest time. Lucas Petersson and Lirim Zendeli maintained string pace throughout the 20 minutes to end in second and third respectively with the main championship contenders Liam Lawson and Igor Fraga rounding out the top five.
Caio Collet dominated the second session with fastest lap after fastest lap as the lap times came down on yet another very hot afternoon session in this year's championship. Collet's best was a 1 minute 3.6 second lap.
The impressive van der Helm continued his impressive form at the circuit with second fast time of the session, with Lirim Zendeli, Franco Colapinto and Igor Fraga rounding out the top five. Fraga was again fastest of the M2 Competition drivers, although the lap times of Lawson, Denner, Tsunoda, Cohen and Andrade are unlikely to be representative of their true pace. Andrade had an off at the final corner which also brought out a red flag whilst the car was retrieved.
Van der Helm was at it again in the final session of the day, blitzing round in hot conditions in 1 minute 3.5 seconds to edge out Petr Ptacek and Grégoire Saucy. Colapinto was there again in fourth and Collet rounded out a solid day with fifth.
Kenny Smith flew the flag for the septuagenarians in style once again at his 49th New Zealand Grand. He clocked a number of laps at a solid race pace, racking up more kilometres as he used his experience to get dialled into the new high downforce Toyota FT60. By the end of the day he was within a second or so of the fastest laps, a remarkable feat in such a competitive international field.