Home Formula RegionalFRegional Oceania Maini wins fourth Taupo race to stay in TRS title contention

Maini wins fourth Taupo race to stay in TRS title contention

by Peter Allen
Arjun Maini

Photo: Toyota Racing NZ/Bruce Jenkins

Arjun Maini kept himself in contention for the Toyota Racing Series title by claiming what should be his second win of the campaign in the last of the four races at Taupo.

As in the first race of the weekend, the Indian remained out front in an action-packed race, but this time he will hope to keep hold of the victory after losing his Saturday win to a jump start penalty.

The race was red-flagged on lap one after Brandon Maisano – a double winner this weekend – rolled out, but the Frenchman was reported to be okay.

After the restart, the leading stayed tightly bunched until the chequered flag, but Maini was never headed.

Fellow BRDC F4 graduate Charlie Eastwood was his nearest challenger for much of the race, but he would succumb to a charging Artem Markelov.

The GP2 racer had started sixth, but made up three places within a few laps of the restart before going on to pass Eastwood and finishing within three tenths of Maini. Eastwood was also inside of a second as he clinched his first podium since the opening round.

Karting graduate Callum Ilott continued his impressive pace this weekend, running fourth and holding the fastest lap before dropping towards the back.

Up into fourth in his place came James Munro, with the Kiwi making great progress from tenth at the restart. Sam MacLeod completed the leading pack in fifth place, three seconds behind the winner.

Series debutant Sergio Sette Camara was running sixth ahead of a charging Stefan Riener until both spun out with three laps remaining.

Ten seconds behind MacLeod, Damon Leitch stayed out of trouble to inherit sixth just ahead of Mathias Kristensen, with Brendon Leitch eighth. Thomas Randle and Alfonso Celis completed the top ten.

Championship leader Lance Stroll had a quiet race, running back in eighth before losing ground, eventually finishing 11th.

With Maisano out and Santino Ferrucci also in trouble, spending time in the pits and finishing three laps down in 16th, Stroll’s points advantage actually increases to 85 points, with Maini now his closest challenger again. With 225 points available from the final three races, Maisano and Ferrucci are also now 102 and 134 adrift respectively.

The safety car had been needed for a second time when Matteo Ferrer crashed out on lap six.

Race results
Pos. Driver Team Time/Gap
1 Arjun Maini M2 Competition 20 laps
2 Artem Markelov Giles Motorsport 0.274
3 Charlie Eastwood M2 Competition 0.760
4 James Munro Giles Motorsport 2.404
5 Sam MacLeod Giles Motorsport 3.099
6 Damon Leitch Victory Motor Racing 12.804
7 Mathias Kristensen M2 Competition 13.186
8 Brendon Leitch Victory Motor Racing 18.940
9 Thomas Randle ETEC Motorsport 19.373
10 Alfonso Celis Giles Motorsport 21.277
11 Lance Stroll M2 Competition 26.128
12 Callum Ilott ETEC Motorsport 26.987
13 Jamie Conroy M2 Competition 28.358
14 Ferdinand Habsburg Victory Motor Racing +1 lap
15 Nikita Mazepin ETEC Motorsport +2 laps
16 Santino Ferrucci Giles Motorsport +3 laps
Not classified
Sergio Sette Camara Giles Motorsport +4 laps
Stefan Riener Victory Motor Racing +4 laps
Matteo Ferrer ETEC Motorsport +15 laps
Brandon Maisano M2 Competition +20 laps