Controversial preliminary race at Taupo TRS

| Photographer Credit: Bruce Jenkins

Jehan Daruvala from India was a controversial winner of the preliminary race in the Toyota Racing Series at Taupo this morning with Invercargill’s Brendon Leitch the main loser.

Leitch led from the start of the reverse grid event and steadily pulled away from China’s Guanyu Zhou who had been given the place after Daruvala had run wide in one corner.

On lap seven Rodrigo Baptista spun, stopping on the track unable to restart his car, bringing out the safety car.

On the restart, Leitch was swamped with Daruvala and Zhou diving inside him and English teenager Lando Norris going around the outside so they went into the first corner four wide.

“The flag man put out the green flag for the restart,” said Leitch. “But he didn’t wave it.”

While Leitch hesitated the others did not. “I couldn’t see the flag,” said Norris. “I went on the call on the radio” (from his race engineer on the pit wall). “It was a bit confusing.”

Daruvala on the inside dived into the first corner and took the lead from Norris with Zhou third and Leitch in fourth place.
Pedro Piquet from Brazil and Christchurch’s James Munro completed the top six.

The race finished under a red flag as two of the back markers tangled in the final corners. Nobody was injured in any of the incidents, although the mechanics had some work to do before this afternoon’s race for the Denny Hulme Memorial Trophy.

Toyota Racing Series, Race 11, Taupo Reverse Grid, 15 laps.-
1, J Daruvala (India); 2, L Norris (England); 3, G Zhou (China); 4, B Leitch (Invercargill); 5, P Piquet (Brazil); 6, J Munro (Christchurch); 7, A Markelov (Russia); 8, F Habsburg (Austria); 9, B Baptista (Brazil); 10, T Cockerton (Pukekohe).

Progress Points. – 1, Norris, 660; 2, Daruvala, 587; 3, Piquet, 582; 4, Zhou, 574; 5, Leitch, 548; 6, Habsburg, 507.

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