Gilchrist the man to beat at Taupo

Brock Taupo Day 1 (940 x 450)

Runaway championship leader Brock Gilchrist has set himself up for another fantastic weekend in the 2023 Toyota 86 Championship by dominating pre-event practice at the Taupo Motorsport Park today.

Gilchrist, who has a 65 point margin over second placed Clay Osborne in the chase for the tenth Toyota 86 title dominated the day’s sessions and was at the top of the timesheets in all three sessions. Two were held in wet conditions wiuth only the final 20 minute session in dry conditions.

This weekend the drivers compete in the fourth round of the super-competitive championship and it looks like Rylan Gray, John Penny, Justin Allen, Dion Pitt and principal championship challenger Clay Osborne will be the drivers chasing Gilchrist.

Brock was fast from the outset, dominating the first damp session around the 3.3km track to beat Gray by over half a second with Osborne a tenth and a half further back in third. Dion Pitt and John Penny completed the top five.

It was Gilchrist again in the second session – another to be affected by Taupo’s damp weather - while Penny wound up second just over a quarter of a second down on Gilchrist and about the same ahead of Rylan Gray in third place. Allen and Pitt rounded out the top five.

In the final session Gilchrist was again immediately down to fast times from the word go, and as the field slowly narrowed the gap (at one stage over a second) it was Osborne who clocked the second-best time, though still a couple of tenths away from Gilchrist’s best of the session.  

With much dryer conditions for the third session, Gilchrist's 1 minute 45 second lap would also stand as the best time of the day.

Official qualifying will open the weekend’s action on Saturday morning, with the first race of the weekend on Saturday afternoon. The remaining two races, including the weekend’s feature race, take place on Sunday.