Toyota Racing Series
Nick Cassidy rose to the top of the TRS championship after the weekend’s third round at Taupo, despite having not yet won this season. The Kiwi has benefited from some supreme consistency; delivering two more podiums to add to the three he had collected in the first two rounds.
It was Britain’s Alex Lynn who claimed both of the weekend’s pole position’s and feature races wins, while Bruno Bonifacio took the Sunday morning sprint event.
The opener seemed easy for Lynn, who led the distance from Cassidy, who fought hard against the Englishman early on; however Cassidy soon fell back toward Steijn Schothorst, although the 18-year-old could not break into 2nd place. Bonifacio lingered a distant 4th, several seconds ahead of Lucas Auer who assumed 5th, while Jann Mardenborough closed out the top six. Title contender Felix Serralles finished 16th after he received a flat tyre mid race.
Bonifacio won his first race of the season on Sunday morning thanks to a clear run in the sprint. The Brazilian fought to keep Schothorst at bay for the duration; however the leading pair ended their battle a long way ahead of Auer (3rd) and Cassidy (4th). Tatiana Calderon assumed her first top five finish of the championship, while Dennis Olsen who originally claimed 6th was later demoted following a false start. A spin at turn one dropped Lynn to 12th, but he quickly climbed to the order to salvage 8th place.
Lynn made up for the error to beat Cassidy to victory by three seconds in the final race. The pair cleared away from the pack – helped by a clash between Schothorst and Auer at race start – before Lynn drew a small, but decisive lead. Bonifacio benefitted most from the collision, pipping Schothorst to the podium, while Pipo Derani finished a close 5th, only to be docked 50 seconds post-race for passing under yellows, promoting Damon Leitch to the top five and Serralles to 6th.