“Meanwhile at the Weekend: Evans wins, as Cassidy extends TRS lead”
Toyota Racing Series
Nick Cassidy took his first TRS win of the season at Hampton Downs to extend his points lead over Lucas Auer, but it was guest driver Mitch Evans who stole the weekend headlines. Evans, a GP2 regular for 2013, made his mark immediately by heading qualifying in both sessions and taking a pair of feature race wins.
Evans held off Alex Lynn for the duration of race one, winning by a mere six-tenths. Pipo Derani (3rd) spent the event being shadowed Cassidy (4th) and Auer (5th), with only seven-tenths covering the trio. Front row man Jann Mardenborough took 6th thanks to some frantic work from his mechanics – the Welshman was hit hard by Bruno Bonifacio on lap one, bringing out a red flag and necessitating some on the grid repairs. An off by Akash Nandy on lap five brought out another safety car period.
Cassidy’s led from pole in race two, drawing away from Derani with ease. The runner-up had to fight for it though, as a charging pack containing Auer (3rd), Evans (4th), Lynn (5th) and Mardenborough (6th) all sat within two seconds of Derani by the end.
Evans won a final race, peppered with safety car periods. Lynn – 2nd again – was unable to destabilise Evans’ march to victory, but still finished close (again), despite the lack of racing rhythm, while the distant Cassidy rounded out the podium. After pitting with a damaged car on lap one, Auer charged from last to take a brilliant 4th ahead of Tanart Sathienthirakul, who passed Andrew Tang take for 5th late on.
Nandy brought out the first safety car when his ETEC machine caught fire, while a heavy clash between Mardenborough and Ignazio d’Agosta declared another neutralised period. With one round remaining, Cassidy leads Auer by 26 points with 225 still available.