Pitt fights back at Teretonga

Dion Teretonga win (940 x450)

Dion Pitt put a challenging Saturday behind him to stamp his authority on the second race at Teretonga Park and secure his first win of the 2023 Toyota 86 Championship.

Pitt overcame a Safety Car period, worsening track conditions with steady rain, oil on the track and a charging Justin Allen to bag the win. It was just what he needed after losing pole position on Saturday and having to fight his way from the back to eighth place in the afternoon’s race.

“That’s a massive relief after yesterday when pretty much everything went wrong,” Dion explained afterwards. “I just went out there with one task. I had one of the fastest cars out there and it was my race to lose if anything, but I’m relieved, happy and stoked for the team.”

With the grid formed from a reverse of the top ten finishers from Saturday’s race it was Fynn Osborne on pole position alongside Tayler Bryant.

As the lights went out Osborne made a good getaway and led through turn one, just holding off Bryant as the pair fought side by side. Osborne managed to get ahead but Tayler was in a hurry to make the most of the high starting position and was on Fynn’s rear bumper throughout the first laps. Both had to contend with a hard charging Pitt and Allen in behind them in third and fourth and a fast starting John Penny charging along in fifth.

Lap two and Bryant ran wide on the exit of turn five and Pitt struck instantly moving through to second, followed quickly by Allen. The action disturbed Tayler’s rhythm and that let both Penny and Exton through in quick succession.

With spits of rain in the air, Pitt made it past Osborne to assume the lead on lap three while Allen immediately stuck himself onto Osborne’s rear bumper. Championship leader Brock Gilchrist meanwhile was making his way quietly through the field and was up to eighth. Saturday runner-up Clay Osborne was making even better progress, moving up to fifth in the early stages.

After five laps of intensity in the worsening conditions, the order was Pitt, Fynn Osborne, Allen, Penny, Clay Osborne, Gilchrist, Bryant, William Exton, Tom Bewley and Christina Orr-West making up the top ten. The race wasn’t going as well for Saturday’s third place finisher Rylan Gray, however, who had fallen down the order to 11th.

Gilchrist, Osborne and Penny put on a great show as the light rain continued, getting side by side on multiple occasions. In the heat of the battle Bryant and Gilchrist made contact and Brock lost enough momentum to allow both Tayler and Exton through. Loose bodywork at the rear certainly wasn’t helping his cause but help came his way with a Safety Car period when Tim Leach beached his car in the gravel.

It didn’t take long to move Tim’s car and the Safety Car was quickly ready to come in and allow the race to resume. As it left the pack in control however, the main group compressed momentarily and Thomas Mallard made heavy contact with the rear of Harry Townshend’s car forcing both out.

Worse still, in the tricky and increasingly soggy conditions, Mallard’s car dropped a bit of oil which caused further mayhem a lap later when cars arrived. Unluckiest of those who arrived on the scene first was Will Morton, who damaged a subframe in the resulting contact and gave his mechanics plenty to do before the afternoon’s feature race.

Once the race resumed, Pitt made quick work of building a one second lead ahead of Osborne who continued to do well holding off Justin Allen who had his lights blazing as he fought to find a way around. Behind him Clay Osborne was looking for a way around both the NAPA Autoparts car and his brother, while Penny sat behind waiting for any of the three to make a mistake.

Allen eventually found a way past an impressive Osborne and immediately set off after Pitt, reducing the gap by tenths every lap. Try as he might though, Justin could not close Dion down enough to make a challenge and Pitt raced home to take a well-deserved win for himself and his RaceLab team. Allen came home just three tenths behind with Clay Osborne third, Penny fourth, Fynn Osborne a career best fifth, Gilchrist a wounded sixth, Exton seventh, a recovering Gray eighth, Tom Bewley ninth and Bryant tenth.

2023 Toyota 86 Championship – Round 2 Teretonga – Race 2

  1. Dion Pitt
  2. Justin Allen
  3. Clay Osborne
  4. John Penny
  5. Fynn Osborne
  6. Brock Gilchrist
  7. William Exton
  8. Rylan Gray
  9. Tom Bewley
  10. Tayler Bryant
  11. Christina Orr-West
  12. Saxon Sheehan
  13. Ayrton Hodson
  14. Tim Leach


DNF - Will Morton

DNF - Harry Townshend

DNF - Thomas Mallard