Too close to call ahead of third round of Toyota Championship


Championship leader Brock Gilchrist topped the times after three test sessions at Hampton Downs International Motorsport Park today, but it could be anyone’s weekend at round three of the 2023 Toyota 86 Championship.

Gilchrist clocked the fastest time of the day in the second dry session and with the earlier session still a little damp, and the later third session fully wet, his 1 minute 53.536 second lap would stand as the fastest of the day.

Arguably the best performance of the day came from Tayler Bryant (pictured above), who was competitive in all sessions in all conditions. In the first session he was second behind Justin Allen and in the second session just under three tenths behind Gilchrist. He showed he has good pace in the wet too, finishing the day third fastest in Friday’s final soggy session.

Allen was quickly into his stride in the morning session and behind him and Bryant it was Clay Osborne, John Penny and Australian Rylan Gray rounding out the top five.

Behind Gilchrist and Bryant in the faster second session, Osborne was there again in third while new entry to the category Hunter Robb caught the eye with fourth fastest time. Allen was there again in fifth.

The final session was the most challenging for the nineteen drivers, fully wet and with limited visibility. Osborne handled the conditions the best, topping the times ahead of veteran Penny who clocked a time just a couple of tenths down on the charging youngster, who is a championship contender this season.

Bryant continued his impressive day with third fastest time while Fynn Osborne made it a family affair in the session with fourth fastest time. A consistent Allen completed his test day ahead of the big weekend in fifth, narrowly ahead of Gilchrist.

Tomorrow’s action begins with qualifying before the first race of three over the weekend. It’s the only time this season the TR86 drivers get to race on the longer, international format Hampton Downs layout and the racing is guaranteed to be fast, furious and hopefully dry.

Watch out too for the first father and son combination to ever compete in the same race in the Toyota 86’s ten years as a major NZ Championship. Mark Mallard and son Thomas make category history on Saturday.