Woods-Toth gets to grips with Highlands as countdown to NZ Grand Prix begins

| Photographer Credit: Bruce Jenkins

Patrick Woods-Toth was first to show form as the build-up to the 68th New Zealand Grand Prix at Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell gets underway.

Woods-Toth completed a great day with second fastest and fastest overall from the two sessions as he got to grips with the track that will host its first New Zealand Grand Prix on Sunday.

In the first session championship leader Roman Bilinski cast aside any doubts that he might take a little while to get to know the complex Highlands track, quickly getting down to competitive times and finishing his very first session at the track at the top of the time sheets.

No surprise in second place in that session was Canadian Patrick Woods-Toth for Kiwi Motorsport.

The highly-regarded Canadian has been on a steep upward improvement curve in the last round or two of this year’s championship and he was on the pace from the word go. It got even better in the second session of the day when he went fastest of all – three tenths up on Bilinski who went fifth fastest.

Those two had the narrowest of margins over Jacob Abel, Gerrard Xie, Liam Sceats, Titus Sherlock, Kaleb Ngatoa, Jett Bowling, Bryce Aron and circuit owner Tony Quinn’s grandson Ryder Quinn.

The second session showed just how close it could be this weekend with less than one tenth of a second covering the times recorded by the top four – Woods-Toth, Kaleb Ngatoa – back at the sharp end of the timesheets after a disappointing round four in Christchurch, American Bryce Aron and top Kiwi title contender Liam Sceats.

Behind Bilinski in that second session it was usual suspects Jacob Abel, Alex Crosbie and race winners Gerrard Xie and Michael Shin. Jett Bowling continued his late season form and personal improvement with a decent tenth fastest overall.

There are three official practice sessions ahead for the drivers on Friday. The weather forecast is good but Thursday closed with a strong wind, which if it continues could make the scenic 4.1km track even more of a challenge.

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