Liam Lawson has the points lead in the Castrol Toyota Racing Series heading into the final round at Manfeild in New Zealand’s North Island. Fellow Red Bull Junior Yuki Tsunoda has his sights set on a top three championship finish in his first time down under.
Lawson is the reigning champion and clinched the title this time last year with victory in the New Zealand Grand Prix, the final race of the day.
Lawson counting on nothing
The Kiwi, who turned 18 on Tuesday, has an 8 point lead over M2 Competition teammate Igor Fraga (both pictured above) but is certainly not banking on that advantage. “It’s nice to be in front going into the final event but I know that anything can happen and a lot will happen in the next four days.”
“It’s a good track that I know but everyone gets two days and plenty of laps on it before we get into Qualifying so I don’t think we are going there with a big advantage. With the new car we are finding a lot of differences at every track we go to so I have quite a learning curve to go through on Thursday and Friday as well.”
“We are going to have the same approach as every other weekend. I am just going to make full use of every session and try not to overthink things. That has worked pretty well for us so far,” concluded Lawson who has won 5 races including last weekend’s fabulous double.
Tsunoda looking for another win
The Japanese 19-year-old Honda Formula Dream Project driver has been doing a great job every weekend as he learns each new circuit and gets accustomed to the TRS car. He sits 4th in the title chase with 25 to make up if he wants to grab 3rd and 64 to 2nd. There are still 90 points on offer for the 3 remaining races.
He scored his single TRS victory to date in the reverse grid Race 2 at the opening round but crossed the line 2nd in Race 1 last weekend after qualifying fourth. He has been held back by some power unit issues so far, this could be his weekend.
“The team have done a great job with the car all through the series, they have been great to work with so I hope the issue can be solved this weekend, it is not their fault. If that is sorted then I think that podium finishes and the race win is very possible.”
“Whatever the situation I certainly have a positive attitude going into the weekend and will concentrate on my driving. I am looking forward to Manfeild, it looks like a good track, at least one long fast corner. It will be another tough weekend and the Grand Prix is quite a long race, 35 laps so it will be very interesting,” asserted the M2 Competition driver.
He has been making the best of any free time in NZ. “I have had some fun days, we were at the lake this week wakeboarding and that sort of thing, really beautiful.”
Manfeild weekend schedule – all times NZST (New Zealand Summer Time – CET+12)
Thursday 13th February
13.30 – 14.00: Test Session 1
16.10 – 16.40: Test Session 2
Friday 14th February
09.50 – 10.20: Practice 1
13.35 – 14.05: Practice 2
16.20 – 16.50: Practice 3
Saturday 15th February
11.10 – 11.25: Qualifying 1
15.32: Race 1 (20 laps)
Sunday 16th February
09.13 – 09.28: Qualifying 2
12.34: Race 2 (15 laps)
17.00: Race 3 (35 laps) 65th New Zealand Grand Prix