Bob McMurray writes from the fourth round of the 2016 Toyota Racing Series…..
The ‘OLD MAN’ (see yesterday) doesn’t know if his hat is on or off.
Rain overnight, drizzle this morning, dry now, rain forecast so who the heck knows what is going to happen.
We also have the Karting fraternity with us on track this weekend using the full circuit and do those things look quick.
I guess when your rear end is just millimetres above the track and you are circulating at about 1min 35 seconds it feels pretty fast as well.
Impressive little beasts.
We are graced with the presence of Chris Amon here this weekend.
Good to see him and great to talk motorsport with him and listen to his amazing stories.
One of those people to whom you can listen all day long.
The Chris Amon Trophy is awarded to the driver gaining the highest aggregate points overall from all five Rounds constituting the Championship.
Rated as one of the world’s finest drivers ever to have lined up on the grid, Chris Amon is graded 33 in the prestigious F1 Racing magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Formula One drivers of all time.
After 96 F1 starts, Amon began a long and successful association with Toyota, playing a key role in the testing, specification and fine tuning of New Zealand’s most popular cars.
Threatening weather and dark clouds produced no rain for the TRS qualifying sessions although at the conclusion of the second one a rain shower did cruise across the circuit with a gentle sprinkling.
Session one was red flagged to extricate the stranded car of Nicolas Dapero but that happened with just seconds to run.
The young Lando Norris clearly showing speed with the championship points as we go into the weekend standing at Norris on 518, Piquet 466, Daruvala 463, Zhou 460, Leitch 452, Habsburg 423, Markelov 423, Munro 320, Ptak 303 and rookie Taylor Cockereton 289.
One problem that seems to be a perennial over the season is the start / finish light system.
A failure at Hampton Downs and a partial failure here at Taupo causing some confusion.
The ‘old’ method of flags was used at the last event but these days drivers, especially those from Europe, are more attuned to looking for the bright lights to warn of incident or race start.
A problem to be fixed.
Race #1 of the weekend.
One of those races that turns into a major problem for a commentator.
You simply do not know where to look next.
Great racing all the way down the field from the two battlers, Norris and Piquet, at the front to the middle of the pack to the back of the pack.
Battles in every corner and exciting stuff all the way.
One real incident when Hanses tried to out brake Baptista into turn #1.
That didn’t work and Hanses came off worse with a broken front left steering / suspension which meant he was out of the race immediately while Baptista continued to the pits with a broken front wing.
The race stewards are looking at the incident for any possible penalty.
Race control rightfully did not call on the safety car as Hanses car was recovered well off track.
They allowed the race to continue unabated.
Earlier Antoni Ptak had pulled off the road with an electrical fault. Apparently a problem that has never happened previously according the team principal Stephen Giles.
To that particular electrical bit at any rate.
The result meant that Norris was the man to pull the marble from the hat and remarkably, after the thing not appearing at all last year, for the third time in a row time this season, the #8 marble was selected meaning the front row for race #2 of the weekend has been handed to Devlin de Francesco (pole) and Brendon Leitch.
After a very spirited drove Taylor Cockerton just missed out on a front row spot by the smallest of margins 4/10ths of a second in fact, after harrying de Francesco for the entire race.
Excellent driving from Taylor.
So that’s a wrap for Saturday…more later.