Confident start for Cockerton at TRS opener

| Photographer Credit: Euan Cameron Photography

Finishing three out of three races in the points has given Pukekohe teenager Taylor Cockerton a confident start at the opening round of the 2016 Toyota Racing Series. Raced mostly in wet conditions at the Mike Pero Motorsport Park in Christchurch, Cockerton was impressive finishing his opening race in the top ten and backing that up with two 11th placings.

“The weekend has been very successful,” commented Cockerton. “We were able to finish all three races in the points which was our objective, with no damage to the car.”

The series had got underway with three days of testing and practice leading into the weekend. Sixteen international drivers along with three Kiwis went into qualifying on Saturday morning which saw Cockerton ninth fastest for the opening race that afternoon. This was backed up with a solid ninth place in race one and then an eleventh in race two on Sunday morning.

The feature race of the weekend was the prestigious 20 lap Lady Wigram Trophy race on Sunday afternoon. While light drizzle had fallen on and off during the day, the whole field started the race on slick (dry) tyres despite the damp conditions which became more treacherous as drizzle began to fall.

“Conditions in the third race were getting progressively worse,” said Cockerton. “So the first half was about survival.”

Brazilian driver Pedro Piquet was the first to pit for wet tyres followed by eventual winner Jehan Daruvala. Both were immediately five seconds a lap quicker than the leading pack of Lando Norris, Artem Markelov and Guanyu Zhou. Before the end of the race there were to be three safety car interventions for accidents on the track. This gave the team a chance to bring in Cockerton for wet weather tyres.

“It was my engineer’s call to box (pit),” said Cockerton. “We had hoped to get out before the safety car came round but we were unable to make it and that put us a lap down.

“It was a 50:50 call and it didn’t go our way. However, I’m proud of the team and the decisions that were made over the weekend.”

After finishing 11th in the feature race Cockerton is also 11th overall in the points standings and fourth fastest rookie, heading into the second round this weekend at the Teretonga Park circuit in Invercargill.

“I know what I have to do and look forward to carrying this momentum into the Teretonga round. I’ve started to get really comfortable with the car after doing a lot of laps in both the wet and dry.”

“The objective at Teretonga is more or less the same as this round. We need to finish races and try and push to the maximum. I’ve proved that I can get into the top ten so we will continue to gain as many points as possible.”

Round 1 results

Race 1 15 laps (top 10)

1 Ferdinand Habsburg
2 Artem Markelov
3 Lando Norris
4 James Munro
5 Guanyu Zhou
6 Brendon Leitch
7 Pedro Piquet
8 Jehan Daruvala
9 Taylor Cockerton
10 Timothe Buret

Race 2 – 15 Laps (Top 11)

1 Lando Norris
2 Pedro Piquet
3 Guanyu Zhou
4 Artem Markelov
5 Antoni Ptak
6 Timothe Buret
7 Ferdinand Habsburg
8 Bruno Baptista
9 Brendon Leitch
10 Devlin DeFrancesco
11 Taylor Cockerton

Race 3 – Lady Wigram Trophy race (top 11)

1, J Daruvala (India);
2, F Habsburg (Austria);
3, A Markelov (Russia);
4, L Norris (England);
5, G Zhou (China);
6, B Leitch (Invercargill);
7, D DeFrancesco (Canada);
8, K Laliberte (Canada);
9, B Baptista (Brazil);
10, N Dapero (Argentina)
11, 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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