Shepherd takes early initiative with pole position
Championship leader Rowan Shepherd got his weekend under way in style at the deciding round of the Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship with pole position in qualifying at the Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park, Taupo.
He edged out series rival Ryan Wood by just two one hundredths of a second to secure top spot for the first race of the weekend. The third player in the final weekend of the championship, Simon Evans, will start the first race from seventh.
Just over one second covered the top ten as the Toyota 86 category got its first competitive weekend at the circuit since 2017 underway.
Championship leader Shepherd put average form in practice behind him to be the first into the 1 minute 44 second bracket and put his name at the top of the timesheets. Wood went quickest at the eight minute mark, shaving a tenth off Shepherd's best.
With just over half of the 20 minute session done, Shepherd responded with a lap that just pipped his championship rival. Friday star Ronan Murphy's best was good enough for third place on the grid.
Having been fastest in the early stages of the session, rookie Marco Giltrap had to settle for fourth best time while newcomer Hugo Allan excelled with a late effort that saw him take fifth on the grid, a remarkable result for the 16 year old on his debut weekend in the competitive category.
He'll be joined on the third row by Brock Gilchrist with Evans an uncharacteristically low seventh, John Penny eighth on a track he knows well, Justin Allen ninth and Tayler Bryant rounding out the top ten.
Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship – Round Five Taupo- Qualifying
1 Rowan Shepherd
2 Ryan Wood
3 Ronan Murphy
4 Marco Giltrap
5 Hugo Allan
6 Brock Gilchrist
7 Simon Evans
8 John Penny
9 Justin Allen
10 Tayler Bryant
11 Christina Orr-West
12 Alexandra Whitley
13 Todd Foster
14 Mark Mallard