Munro, Leitch, Cockerton all crack top ten at Hampton Downs
Lando Norris' run of success in the 2016 Toyota Racing Series has continued at Hampton Downs for round three of the series.
The Brit led a lights-to-flag win over Jehan Daruvala. The pair battled hard over the early laps, but Norris proved too quick — taking a 1.5-second win. Pedro Piquet finished third, though the Brazilian will start the third and final race of the weekend from pole.
While Norris was a cut above the balance of the field, the three-car Kiwi contingent had a successful run, as James Munro, Brendon Leitch, and series rookie Taylor Cockerton all finished in the top ten, finishing in fourth, fifth, and 10th respectively.
After luck deserted Munro in rounds one and two, the Giles Motorsport pilot is happy to see the pace he's shown all season finally translate into a positive result.
“We had a bit of a tough weekend in Teretonga, and qualifying didn't go quite the right way. But definitely at Ruapuna and Teretonga we had strong pace, and now here [at Hampton Downs],” Munro told Driven.
“I'm fairly happy with the result, and hopefully we can push for a podium tomorrow.”
Taylor Cockerton enjoyed a solid performance at his home circuit. Photo / Matthew Hansen
After getting a good start from his fifth-place starting position, Munro looked odds on to hold the position. But a late-race failure for GP2 regular and M2 driver Artem Markelov helped elevate Munro — and race-long combatant Leitch — further up the order.
“I got a pretty good start; I actually got run into the grass along the straight, but I managed to keep it going.
“From there it was a fairly steady race. There was a bit of a train of us for a while. When Artem [Markelov] dropped out, it was a pretty simple race from there.”
Race two tomorrow will feature a top-eight reverse-grid start, which sees Poland's Antoni Ptak start from pole position, and the New Zealand duo of Leitch and Munro start from fourth and fifth respectively.
Race three, the longest of the weekend, will decide the winner of the NZ Motor Cup.
1. Lando Norris 2. Jehan Daruvala 3. Pedro Piquet 4. James Munro 5. Brendon Leitch 6. Ferdinand Habsburg 7. Guanyu Zhou 8. Antoni Ptak 9. Bruno Baptista 10. Taylor Cockerton