Intense Toyota 86 championship heads to Highlands

GP preview 86 (940 x 450)

If the last round at the Euromarque Motorsport Park in Christchurch is anything to go by, fans attending this weekend’s big New Zealand Grand Prix meeting in Cromwell are in for more than a few thrills.

A strong front half of the field could all win races or at least finish in the top three. Once again, as it has been over many seasons, this championship is about consistently scoring points in all races.

Heading the action as the field heads to Cromwell is Tom Bewley. A winner at the first round in Taupo, round two at Manfeild was more challenging but he was back on top form in Christchurch last weekend, winning back the championship lead and indeed extending it a little over Hunter Robb who led after Manfeild.

Both Bewley and Robb will renew their battle at Highlands, but they’re unlikely to have it their own way. William Exton was flying at the Euromarque Motorsport Park and after Bewley and Robb, was the third Round winner from three weekends.

Jackson Rooney and Justin Allen have also shown good form in the past two race weekends, Allen particularly back to the sharp end after discovering a bent shock absorber on his TR86.

John Penny has won this season too, but has had a run of poor results since winning the opener at Manfeild and will be conscious that if he is to challenge the youngsters, he’s going to have to have the consistency to match his speed this weekend.

Watch out too for drivers currently catching the eye with their rate of improvement. Harry Townshend, Lockie Bloxsom, Alice Buckley, Hayden Bakkerus, Brooklyn Horan and Saxon Sheehan have all made considerable steps forward from the first round and there is no reason to suspect they won’t be even closer to the pace this weekend.

One thing is guaranteed – high quality racing that is gripping for the fans from the first lap to the last. The 21 car field will practice on Friday before qualifying on Saturday morning and the first race on Saturday afternoon.

They’ll do a reverse format grid for their second race and the big race of the weekend takes place on Sunday afternoon as the support race for the 68th New Zealand Grand Prix.