Toyota Racing Series
Felix Serralles heads the Toyota Racing Series after the opening round at Teretonga Park Raceway. The Puerto Rican leaves the Invercargill circuit with a five point lead over Austrian racer Lucas Auer. Both Auer and Serralles won a race each, with the pair also grabbing a pole each, although Auer blotted his copybook by going off in the damp second session.
Auer won the first race with relative ease, breaking the Toyota Racing series lap record in the process. Racing for Giles Motorsport, the 18-year-old set the pace, eventually clearing reigning champion Nick Cassidy by over two seconds. Alex Lynn – initially 2nd until passed by Cassidy – wrapped up the podium, while Serralles finished off the top four.
Pipo Derani won Sunday morning’s reverse grid race, despite a sluggish getaway. The Brazilian recovered to win ahead of a feisty Serralles; however Derani did have to contend with a late safety car period following an off for Andrew Tang. Original 3rd placed man, Bruno Bonifacio, was dropped to 7th place for lining up incorrectly on the starting grid, promoting Lynn to the podium. Cassidy (4th), Auer (5th) and Steijn Schothorst (6th) filled out the top half-dozen.
Serralles claimed the 20-lap Spirit of Nations feature on Sunday afternoon, giving the Giles Motorsport racer a five-point lead in the standings. The Puerto Rican led off the line from Lynn, although the race was quickly placed under a safety car due to several spinners. Lynn’s challenge ended with a violent smash on the third lap, bringing out a brief red flag – he was fine – after which Auer climbed to 2nd from 4th ahead of Schothorst. Bonifacio made amends for his race two error to finish 4th, less than one second up on Derani (5th) and Damon Leitch (6th). Nissan GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough was the top rookie in all three races.
Full results and standings. The Toyota Racing Series will be broadcast in Europe on MotorsTV from next week.