Norris on top as Kiwis aim to bridge the gap
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Norris takes over TRS championship lead after changeable Teretonga event
16-year-old Brit Lando Norris has won the second round of the 2016 Toyota Racing Series (TRS) in Teretonga, after complementing two pole position performances with a win on Sunday afternoon, earning himself the Spirit of a Nation trophy in the process.
Despite Norris' speed edge, it took him three races to claim a top-spot result — narrowly edged out of wins in races one and two by Lady Wigram Trophy winner Jehan Daruvala and second-gen racer Pedro Piquet. It was Piquet's first win in the TRS championship.
“I think you can compare these here [pointing to M2 Competition’s Toyota FT50s] like F1 in my time," said Pedro's three-time Formula 1 championship-winning Father, Nelson Piquet.
“Maybe it was a little but more, you know, but it was the same thing. Same organisation and the technology is coming more and more and the car is getting more sophisticated and more difficult to work with the one or two mechanics so you need a lot more people."
While Kiwis James Munro and Taylor Cockerton both endured difficult weekends, ITM's Brendon Leitch was consistently quick across all the races — ultimately rewarded with a second-place finish to Norris in the final hitout.
"The car was on form. I made a small mistake this morning [in race two] which cost me a podium, and then this afternoon I got a blinder of a start and made it into second by turn one and just pressed on from there," Leitch told Driven.
"Lando Norris in front of me was quite quick so it was pretty hard to try and catch him, but just tried to push on and make sure the guys behind couldn't catch and finish to get some good points.
"The ITM FT-50's been really good for the last two weekends. Lady luck hasn't been on my side for a wee bit and I made a few small stupid errors, so I just have a few things to work on and hopefully by the end of the season we'll be looking for a win.
"Hopefully Victory can get a victory."
The series now travels back to Waikato's Hampton Downs for round three this coming weekend, with one of the oldest national motorsport trophies — the New Zealand Motor Cup — on the line.
Photos / Simon Chapman