Alexander and Milligan share first victories in 2017-2018 Toyota 86 Championship
In unpredictable weather two masters of the Toyota 86 Championship are showing their form: Jack Milligan and Tom Alexander have each won a race and are locked in battle for early dominance of the series.
Jack Milligan was the class of the morning’s 12 lap race, heading home pole man Connor Adam to be the first championship leader of the series.
Third was Tom Alexander, the 2015 Toyota 86 Champion. There were close calls and incidents for several competitors. Reid Harker slid wide over the Pukekohe ‘mountain’ and gathered his car up but went straight through a trackside advertising board.
“I expected the thing to smash but it stayed in one piece and was blocking the whole radiator aperture. The engine temperature shot right off the dial,” he said afterward.
With the hoarding removed, Harker recovered to be fifth.
The youngest racer in the championship, Sam Wright, spun off the track and damaged the rear suspension of the Tony Richards Toyota car.
Australian Cameron Hill posted fastest lap, a 1:18.640, on his second lap.
Then in the partial-reversed grid this afternoon, it was Tom Alexander’s turn to swarm through to the lead in light rain. Alexander survived a close moment when Cameron Hill, who had been second at the start, speared off the circuit and then re-crossed it at high speed.
“I never saw it coming, it was just a zip! Across my line of sight and gone. Pretty scary,” he said.
Australian Dylan Gulson went off sideways at Railway Corner, denting his car but recovering to finish 12th.
As the race wound down toward its end, Jack Milligan hung on to the flying Alexander, and Jordan Baldwin took his first Toyota series podium, coming home third.
“That was a great race, I had to really commit in the rain and the car felt great. The plan for tomorrow is to finish in front of Jack and lead the championship. Sounds easy doesn’t it!”
The final race of the weekend is at 1.20 pm on Sunday 5 November.