Home Featured Collet penalised, Lawson inherits TRS season opener win

Collet penalised, Lawson inherits TRS season opener win

by Ida Wood

Photo: John Cowpland / Toyota Gazoo Racing NZ

Liam Lawson has been promoted to victory in the first race of the Toyota Racing Series season after race-winner Caio Collet was penalised.

Renault junior Collet beat reigning champion Lawson in a last-lap battle at Highlands Motorsport Park after a safety car intervention eradicated the Brazilian’s lead.

After finishing just 0.262 seconds short of a win, Lawson’s M2 Competition team protested the result as it believed Collet had completed two practice starts on the formation lap.

A post-race inquiry proved that to be the case, and applied a five-second penalty to Collet. He is now classified seventh, and means that MTEC Motorsport by R-ace GP will have to end its eight-year losing streak again.

As a result, it also means Lawson’s M2 team-mate Yuki Tsunoda will start the second race of the weekend from reversed grid pole.

Lawson wasn’t entirely pleased with his race, despite inheriting the first win since the series introduced the Toyota FT-60 car.

?We had a descent start but I couldn?t quite get Caio off the line,” he said.

“The cars have a lot of downforce, more than last year. Around a track like this with lots of long corners, there aren?t that many places to pass. I tried but I just couldn’t get close enough.

“At the end of the day it?s a solid result but we need to go a bit better in qualifying.”

The race two grid is set to be one driver down once again, with Kiwi Motorsport’s Amaury Cordeel suffering from suspected concussion after a crash earlier in the weekend.