Heading into the final Castrol Toyota Racing Series round at Circuit Chris Amon Manfeild, there was just eight points between current TRS champion Liam Lawson and rival Igor Fraga from Brazil.
Having finished Saturday’s opening race of the NZ Grand Prix weekend with Fraga winning ahead of Lawson, the title fight just got tighter with the margin now down to four points and two races left on Sunday.
Not since 2010 have we seen such a close title fight. Back then it was Kiwi drivers Mitch Evans and Earl Bamber. While Bamber took six wins, including winning the NZ Grand Prix, to Evans three, it was the latter who in the end took the title by just three points.
“It is a matter of again finishing ahead of Liam tomorrow in the second race,” commented Fraga. “For the last race (the NZ Grand Prix), whoever finishes first will win the championship so the next race (race two on Sunday morning) will be very important so we will keep pushing.
“The start in race two will create a big chance for me so we will try to nail it at the beginning.”
While mindful of the importance of race two, Lawson seems focused on the significance of qualifying well for the final race of the series, the New Zealand Grand Prix.
“Obviously race two will be important as it is one which can make a big difference for the weekend,” said Lawson. “The main focus will be on qualifying for the Grand Prix so we will make sure we have a good quali. I think it is in the car and in me. This morning we just didn’t quite put it all together. There are a few things we need to work on for tomorrow but I am confident the pace is there.”
Grid slots for race two on Sunday morning are decided by finishing positions from race one with a marble-draw for a reverse top six or eight. Tomorrows race two will see a reverse top eight.
Lucas Petersson will start from pole with Petr Ptacek alongside. Behind them are Tijmen van der Helm, Spike Kohlbecker, Caio Collet, Franco Colapinto. Lawson will start seventh and Fraga from eighth.
While their other rivals who could also take the title, it is all about the race between Lawson and Fraga.