Rookie Cockerton maintains consistent top ten form at Hampton Downs

| Photographer Credit: Geoff Ridder

Taylor Cockerton TRS Hampton Downs Jan 2016Rookie driver Taylor Cockerton has continued his consistent form over the 2016 Toyota Racing series finishing all three races of the third round held at the Hampton Downs circuit over the weekend. The Pukekohe teenager is a credible tenth overall in the points standings having finished all nine races so far and with just two rounds remaining.

“I’m really pleased with the results this weekend,” said Cockerton. “We came here with the aim to score three top ten paces and have done just that.”

Nineteen drivers faced qualifying and three races at the north Waikato track which produced three different race winners. Lando Norris from the UK, who currently leads the championship won the first race on Saturday morning while Ferrari Academy driver Guanyu Zhou won race two on Sunday morning. Brazilian Pedro Piquet won the prestigous New Zealand Motor Trophy, the 20 lap feature race on Sunday afternoon.

“Race one was relatively straight forward,” commented Cockerton. “I had an average start and lost a couple of places but was able to make up for it late in the race.

“The second race was full on with three restarts as a result of incidents to other drivers. We were at one stage up to P7 but was swamped on the restart and dropped a couple of places.

“The final race was similar to the first. We started ninth and held our place, putting in some great lap times comparable to the top three in the race. I had been maintaining a gap back to Brendon Leitch but a safety car brought the field back together and when we restarted he was able to get around the outside of me.

“A red flag ended the race early which was disappointing as I believe that I could have pressed on for eighth place.”

Last season Cockerton won the NZ Formula Ford title and has now made the step up to the fast TRS category. In its 12th season the series continues to attract some of the world’s best single seater drivers in this category and this year is no exception. Three Kiwis including Cockerton, Leitch and James Munro are facing sixteen other international drivers in the five round series held over consecutive weekends.

Drivers and teams now head to the Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park in Taupo, a circuit that Cockerton is similar with.

“The strategy hasn’t changed and we will look to continuously improve over the weekend,” said Cockerton. “We will be looking to finish in the top eight. I’ve got the potential too and I know the track well having done a lot of laps in both a Formula First and a Formula Ford. The circuit is quite technical and the aim is to get on the pace early and build from that.”

“I’ve learned heaps, a massive amount from every session so continue to gain a lot of experience. I find something from every session and the close competition is the fiercest I have faced and so thrilled with where we are at on the points table heading to Taupo.”

Drivers will again practice and test on the Thursday and Friday leading into the weekend which will comprise of qualifying and race one on Saturday, races two and three on Sunday.

Points Table after 3/5 rounds (Top 10)
1 Lando Norris 518
2 Pedro Piquet 466
3 Jehan Daruvala 463
4 Guanyu Zhou 460
5 Brendon Leitch 452
6 Ferdinand Habsburg 423
7 Artem Markelov 423
8 James Munro 320
9 Antoni Ptak 303
10 Taylor Cockerton 289

Race results (Top 10) – Round 3: Hampton Downs 29-31 Jan 2016

Race 1 (15 Laps) – Top 10
1 Lando Norris
2 Jehan Daruvala
3 Pedro Piquet
4 James Munro
5 Brendon Leitch
6 Ferdinand Habsburg
7 Guanyu Zhou
8 Antoni Ptak
9 Bruno Baptista
10 Taylor Cockerton

Race 2 (15 laps) – Top 10
1 Guanyu Zhou
2 Brendon Leitch
3 Pedro Piquet
4 Jehan Daruvala
5 Ferdinand Habsburg
6 Antoni Ptak
7 Kami Laliberte
8 Bruno Baptista
9 Taylor Cockerton
10 William Owen

Race 3 (20 laps) – Top 10
1 Pedro Piquet
2 James Munro
3 Jehan Daruvala
4 Guanyu Zhou
5 Artem Markelov
6 Lando Norris
7 Kami Laliberte
8 Ferdinand Habsburg
9 Brendon Leitch
10 Taylor Cockerton

Benjamin Carrell is a freelance motorsport writer and currently edits He writes for a number of Kiwi drivers and motorsport clubs. That's when he's not working in his horticultural day-job or training for the next road or mtb cycle race!

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