British karting graduate Callum Ilott clocked in the fastest lap of Friday practice for penultimate Toyota Racing Series round at Taupo.
However, in the opening session, it was Brazilian Sergio Sette Camara who ran the show, setting the benchmark in his debut session in the series.
Camara, a graduate of the F3 Brasil series, took over the #7 car of Dzhon Simonyan and managed to make an instant impact, topping the first practice.
Ilott, who is touted as a prospective Red Bull junior, produced a sign of things to come by taking third in the morning session, just 0.02s behind squadmate Thomas Randle.
Santino Ferrucci took fourth, leading Arjun Maini, with Artem Markelov figuring as the final driver in the 1:24s.
Stefan Riener was seventh, ahead of Brandon Maisano, who narrowly cleared Scotsman Sam MacLeod. TRS veteran Damon Leitch was the top Kiwi in tenth.
Session two was rather eventful as it was interrupted by two red flag periods. Victory’s Ferdinand Habsburg led at eight minutes when Maini went into the tyre wall, while an off for Sette Camara suspended the session at halfway point, with Ferrucci in the lead.
Eventually, Markelov emerged at the top, narrowly beating the time from the opening session and being the only one to do so. His teammate Alfonso Celis was second, with Randle narrowly leading MacLeod and Ferrucci in third.
Habsburg ended up sixth ahead of championship leader Lance Stroll and top local James Munro, with Ilott and Maisano making up the top ten.
The times finally started tumbling down in the final practice and Ilott became the first driver to dip below 1:24s after ten minutes. Maisano then briefly led at the halfway point, but the top spot ended up with Ilott.
It was a comfortable lead for the Briton, too, who managed to one-up the Frenchman by more than 0.25s. Munro picked up third, leading teammates Ferrucci and MacLeod.
Habsburg was sixth again, while Mathias Kristensen, who was slowest of the day heading into the final session, rebounded with a solid seventh right ahead of Markelov. M2’s Charlie Eastwood beat teammate Stroll to ninth.
Combined session results
|1||Callum Ilott||ETEC Motorsport||1:24.602||1:24.790||1:23.250|
|2||Brandon Maisano||M2 Competition||1:25.081||1:24.811||1:23.505|
|3||James Munro||Giles Motorsport||1:25.303||1:24.777||1:23.667|
|4||Santino Ferrucci||Giles Motorsport||1:24.806||1:24.543||1:23.688|
|5||Sam MacLeod||Giles Motorsport||1:25.088||1:24.524||1:23.724|
|6||Ferdinand Habsburg||Victory Motor Racing||1:25.304||1:24.672||1:23.786|
|7||Mathias Kristensen||M2 Competition||1:25.665||1:25.330||1:23.803|
|8||Artem Markelov||Giles Motorsport||1:24.991||1:24.219||1:23.817|
|9||Charlie Eastwood||M2 Competition||1:25.218||1:24.985||1:23.869|
|10||Lance Stroll||M2 Competition||1:25.247||1:24.752||1:23.927|
|11||Sergio Sette Camara||Giles Motorsport||1:24.319||1:25.502||1:24.001|
|12||Matteo Ferrer||ETEC Motorsport||1:25.222||1:25.105||1:24.055|
|13||Thomas Randle||ETEC Motorsport||1:24.581||1:24.519||1:24.077|
|14||Stefan Riener||Victory Motor Racing||1:25.034||1:24.883||1:24.235|
|15||Damon Leitch||Victory Motor Racing||1:25.158||1:25.844||1:24.237|
|16||Nikita Mazepin||ETEC Motorsport||1:25.821||1:24.918||1:24.413|
|17||Alfonso Celis||Giles Motorsport||1:25.542||1:24.442||No Time|
|18||Jamie Conroy||M2 Competition||1:26.458||1:25.151||1:24.443|
|19||Arjun Maini||M2 Competition||1:24.886||1:24.840||No Time|
|20||Brendon Leitch||Victory Motor Racing||1:25.827||1:25.151||1:26.525|
Personal best time in bold
Best time of session in italics