Home Formula RegionalFRegional Oceania M2 Competition duo Maini and Maisano lead the way in Thursday testing

M2 Competition duo Maini and Maisano lead the way in Thursday testing

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
Photo: Toyota Racing Series

Photo: Toyota Racing Series

Arjun Maini and Brandon Maisano established themselves as the early favorites for the opening Toyota Racing Series round at Ruapuna, becoming the only drivers to go below 1:17s in Thursday testing.

Four sessions took place on the day under a group format, with each racer participating in two of them, and every single one was topped by an M2 Competition driver.

BRDC F4 graduate Charlie Eastwood was the surprise performer of the opening run, leading Maisano by two tenths and a half with a late lap. Stefan Riener was third for Victory, leading Sam MacLeod and Brendon Leitch.

Maini, who was very rapid during Wednesday on-track action, comfortably topped his group, surpassing teammate Lance Stroll by four tenths. Yet another M2 driver Artem Markelov was a close third, with Callum Ilott not far behind and Nikita Mazepin rounding out the top five.

Maisano would be the first driver to surpass 1:17s in the next session, followed by American Santino Ferrucci. James Munro – a native of Christchurch where Ruapuna is located – was a close third, followed by MacLeod and with Riener in fifth.

But it was Maini who set the benchmark of the day, eclipsing Maisano’s time by just 0.001s. Ilott was an encouraging second, leading ART’s new GP3 signing Alfonso Celis, Markelov and Dane Mathias Kristensen.

Combined testing resuls
Pos. Driver Team S1 S2
1 Arjun Maini M2 Competition 1:17.687 1:16.983
2 Brandon Maisano M2 Competition 1:17.869 1:16.984
3 Santino Ferrucci Giles Motorsport 1:19.232 1:17.118
4 James Munro Giles Motorsport 1:18.432 1:17.154
5 Sam MacLeod Giles Motorsport 1:18.161 1:17.161
6 Callum Ilott ETEC Motorsport 1:18.174 1:17.238
7 Alfonso Celis Giles Motorsport 1:19.403 1:17.519
8 Artem Markelov Giles Motorsport 1:18.122 1:17.548
9 Stefan Riener Victory Motor Racing 1:17.945 1:17.564
10 Mathias Kristensen M2 Competition 1:18.689 1:17.581
11 Charlie Eastwood M2 Competition 1:17.622 1:17.819
12 Thomas Randle ETEC Motorsport 1:18.314 1:17.682
13 Nikita Mazepin ETEC Motorsport 1:18.614 1:17.853
14 Lance Stroll M2 Competition 1:18.103 1:17.861
15 Brendon Leitch Victory Motor Racing 1:18.313 1:17.892
16 Jamie Conroy M2 Competition 1:18.985 1:18.145
17 Ferdinand Habsburg Victory Motor Racing 1:18.703 1:18.467
18 Damon Leitch Victory Motor Racing 1:19.147 1:18.486
19 Dzhon Simonyan Giles Motorsport 1:19.310 1:18.678
20 Matteo Ferrer ETEC Motorsport 1:20.215 No Time

Personal best time in bold
Best time of session in italics