Michael Scott wins first TR86 race at Ruapuna

| Photographer Credit: Bruce Jenkins

An ecstatic Michael Scott is celebrating his first race win of the 2015-2016 Toyota Finance 86 Championship after grabbing the lead as championship leader Ash Blewett fumbled his start.

Pole man Blewett has dominated the series to date, but Scott emerged in the lead today off the start as new entry Jaxon Evans pushed his car up on the other side of the lead pair.

Blewett said he misjudged the start, enabling the challengers to draw alongside.

“I stayed on Michael right through the race but wasn’t quite able to line up a pass,” he said afterward. Second place adds valuable points to his championship lead.

Scott said he hadn’t expected to grab the lead and had aimed simply to challenge Blewett.

“It was very busy at the start, Jaxon came up alongside me while I was watching Ash, it looked like we were all going to go into the turn side by side but then Jaxon went back and it was just Ash and I.”

Attrition at Ruapuna was the highest in the current championship, with five cars failing to finish, most carrying panel damage when they returned to pit lane. Unluckiest competitor was local racer Tiffany Chittenden, whose LightingPlus car had brake issued and went straight into the tyre wall on the first lap. Australia-based Kiwi Jaxon Evans, making his first foray into the championship, had lost touch with the leaders and went out with one lap to go.

The field completed four laps under the safety car then Scott accelerated away with Blewett clinging tenaciously to the rear of the CareVets car.

The gap between the lead two and the pack stretched out from three to almost six seconds, John Penny driving a defensive race in third place with Christchurch youth Marcus Armstrong challenging for position.

In the rookie standings, Ryan Yardley was slowed by a rear driveline issue, while rookie points leader Jacob Smith fought his way clear to finish fifth.

Mark Baker has been working in automotive PR and communications for more than two decades. For much longer than that he has been a motorsport journalist, photographer and competitor, witness to most of the most exciting and significant motorsport trends and events of the mid-late 20th Century. His earliest memories of motorsport were trips to races at Ohakea in the early 1960s, and later of annual summer pilgrimages to watch Shellsport racers and Mini 7s at Bay Park and winter sorties into forests around Kawerau and Rotorua to see the likes of Russell Brookes, Ari Vatanen and Mike Marshall ply their trade in group 4 Escorts. Together with Murray Taylor and TV producer/director Dave Hedge he has been responsible for helping to build New Zealand’s unique Toyota Racing Series into a globally recognized event brand under category managers Barrie and Louise Thomlinson. Now working for a variety of automotive and mainstream commercial clients, Mark has a unique perspective on recent motor racing history and the future career paths of our best and brightest young racers.

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