Home Featured Juan Manuel Correa controls Taupo Toyota Racing Series opener

Juan Manuel Correa controls Taupo Toyota Racing Series opener

by Bethonie Waring

Photo: Toyota Racing NZ/Bruce Jenkins

Juan Manuel Correa moved into fourth in the Toyota Racing Series standings after a dominant victory in the opening race at Taupo.

The M2 Competition driver led from lights to flag from his maiden pole position and was unchallenged throughout the race.

Correa eventually finished more than four seconds ahead of team-mate James Pull to take his second TRS win of the season.

?I pushed hard all the way,? said the winner.

?The team told me I was under investigation for jumping the start and needed to get as big a gap as possible in case I was penalised five seconds.?

Pull, who made a strong start from fourth on the grid, moved up to second on the opening lap.

He was joined early in the race by team-mates Richard Verschoor and Robert Shwartzman in a battle for second, with the latter two also fighting over second in the standings.

Hoping to close the gap to championship leader Marcus Armstrong, Shwartzman made multiple moves to try to pass Verschoor, allowing Pull to break away from the fight.

Verschoor defended well and the battle settled in the closing stages of the race. He finished third to take his seventh podium of the season and narrow his points deficit to Shwartzman.

Shwartzman finished fourth, ahead of championship leader Marcus Armstrong, whose streak of nine consecutive podium finishes from the start of the season came to an end.

Reid Harker finished sixth, matching his best finish of the season to date.

At the bottom end of the top 10, Brendon Leitch and Ryan Yardley enjoyed a race long battle, with Taylor Cockerton and Clement Novalak never too far behind.

Yardley found a way past Leitch early in the race, but the Victory Motor Racing driver stayed on his tail and fought hard to take the position back. He eventually had to finish for eighth, behind Yardley but ahead of Cockerton and Novalak.

Leitch will start the second race of the weekend on pole after his position was picked out on the grid draw, with Yardley alongside him on the front row.

Results (15 laps)
1 Juan Manuel Correa M2 Competition 21m18.640s
2 James Pull M2 Competition +4.111s
3 Richard Verschoor M2 Competition +4.609s
4 Robert Shwartzman M2 Competition +4.900s
5 Marcus Armstrong M2 Competition +6.571s
6 Reid Harker Giles Motorsport +12.025s
7 Ryan Yardley MTEC Motorsport +19.050s
8 Brendon Leitch Victory Motor Racing +19.338s
9 Taylor Cockerton MTEC Motorsport +19.904s
10 Clement Novalak Giles Motorsport +20.156s
11 Charles Milesi MTEC Motorsport +20.589s
Ret Cameron Das Victory Motor Racing
Pole: Correa, 1m24.507s
Fastest Lap: Correa, 1m24.583s

Championship Standings
1 Armstrong 640? ?2 Shwartzman 604? ?3 Verschoor 581? ?4 Correa 522? ?5 Novalak 503? ?6 Pull 500? ?7 Harker 372? ?8 Cockerton 367? ?9 Leitch 332? ?10 Milesi 319