Cockerton gathers more points and experience at Taupo

| Photographer Credit: Geoff Ridder

Pukekohe’s Taylor Cockerton continues to impress after the fourth round of the 2016 Toyota Racing Series was held over the weekend. Competing at the Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park in Taupo, Cockerton finished ninth, tenth and a notable sixth place in the Denny Hulme Memorial feature race. He continues to stay in the top ten on the overall points table, moving up to ninth with one round to complete. UK’s Lando Norris has extended his series lead after winning the first and third race over the weekend.

“I’m really happy with the round,” commented Cockerton. “Again I’ve learnt a huge amount and I now find that I am fighting in the main pack. At this stage of the series we are now more focused on race tactics as the car certainly has the pace.”

After qualifying ninth fastest (out of 19) on Saturday morning, Cockerton felt slightly disappointed with his first race of the weekend.

“We had a great start to the round having a really fast car in testing and practice on Thursday and Friday. I couldn’t maximise this in qualifying so started in P9 and this is where we finished race one. I just got held up at the start and then spent most of the race trying to get past Bruno Baptista but couldn’t get it to stick.”

Race two on Sunday morning saw more consistency with a tenth placing in a race won by Indian driver Jehan Daruvala.

The final 20 lap feature race at one stage saw Cockerton up to fifth but a safety car period brought the field together and at the restart he dropped back to sixth.

“I’m really happy with the result from the feature race,” said Cockerton. “I had picked off a number of guys in front of me including Brendon Leitch and Ferdinard Hapsburg but they eventually got the better restart.

“Overall I’m really happy with the race and certainly the pace I had keeping up with Brendon and Ferdinard.

“Throughout the four rounds so far we have continually found small improvements with the car and this has added up. The car is quick and now we need to ‘nail’ qualifying leading into the racing.”

“Qualifying is so different to the racing. You have to maximise your tyres for the weekend and essentially you have one important lap on new tyres to set your fastest time.

“It’s not something that you learn over night, but maybe over a whole season. The plan is to get into the top eight next weekend at the final round at Manfeild.”

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, race two on Sunday morning with the final race, the New Zealand Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon.

Race 1 (15 Laps)
1 Lando Norris
2 Pedro Piquet
3 James Munro
4 Guanyu Zhou
5 Jehan Daruvala
6 Ferdinand Habsburg
7 Brendan Leitch
8 Devlin De Francesco
9 Taylor Cockerton
10 Bruno Baptista
11 Kami Laliberte
12 Artem Markelov
13 William Owen
14 Nicolas Dapero
15 Theo Bean
16 Timothe Buret
17 Rodrigo Baptista
dnf Julian Hanses
dnf Antoni Ptak

Race 2 (15 laps)
1 Jehan Daruvala
2 Lando Norris
3 Guanyu Zhou
4 Brendan Leitch
5 Pedro Piquet
6 James Munro
7 Artem Markelov
8 Bruno Baptista
9 Taylor Cockerton
10 William Owen
11 Devlin De Francesco
12 Ferdinand Habsburg
13 Theo Bean
dnf Kami Laliberte
dnf Julian Hanses
dnf Antoni Ptak
dnf Timothe Buret
dnf Nicolas Dapero
dnf Rodrigo Baptista

Race 3 (20 laps) Denny Hulme Memorial Trophy
1 Lando Norris
2 Pedro Piquet
3 Guanyu Zhou
4 Ferdinand Habsburg
5 Brendan Leitch
6 Taylor Cockerton
7 Bruno Baptista
8 Jehan Daruvala
9 Kami Laliberte
10 Devlin De Francesco
11 James Munro
12 William Owen
13 Timothe Buret
14 Antoni Ptak
15 Theo Bean
16 Julian Hanses
dnf Rodrigo Baptista
dnf Nicolas Dapero
dnf Artem Markelov

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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