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Armstrong wins on Ferrari and Toyota Racing Series debut

by Peter Allen
Marcus Armstrong

Photo: Toyota Racing NZ

Marcus Armstrong has won his very first race as part of the Ferrari Driver Academy and his Toyota Racing Series debut in the opening race of 2017 at his local Ruapuna circuit.

The 16-year-old from nearby Christchurch pounced on polesitting Force India protege Jehan Daruvala at a restart following a mid-race safety car.

Daruvala had opened up a half-second margin on M2 Competition team-mate Armstrong on the first lap of the race, and extended that to almost a second when the race was put under caution on lap six of 15 after a spin for Kory Enders.

Armstrong – a veteran of just seven European single-seater races – was right with the Indian on the restart, and once he was past was able to quickly open up a margin of 1.2s before backing off on the final tour.

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The rest of the top 10 places were locked in on the first lap. Ferdinand Habsburg slipped from third on the grid to seventh, with Red Bull Junior Richard Verschoor climbing onto the podium to join fellow series debutant Armstrong.

The Dutch teenager posted the fastest lap two tours from the end to finish a second behind Daruvala.

Australian Thomas Randle was close behind in?fourth, in front of second-best-Kiwi Taylor Cockerton.

Pedro Piquet was sixth, followed by Habsburg, Enaam Ahmed, Brendon Leitch and Kami Laliberte.