Felix Serralles took a lights-to-flag victory in race three of the opening Toyota Racing Series round at Teretonga, which allowed him into the lead of the standings.
The Puerto Rican started the race from pole and confidently drove to an easy win while most of the events of the race unfolded behind him.
For instance, it was Lucas Auer who made a crucial breakthrough from fifth on the grid to second, allowing himself to stay within five points of Serralles in the standings. The podium was completed by Steijn Schothorst, who converted a starting position on the second row into a crucial top three finish.
Brazilians Bruno Bonifacio and Pipo Derani completed the top five, while Damon Leitch only managed sixth after starting third. In seventh, Jann Mardenborough recorded his personal best result, as series champion Nick Cassidy, Akash Nandy and Nicholas Latifi completed the top ten.
Tatiana Calderon beat Tanart Sathienthirakul to eleventh while Andrew Tang stayed ahead of Ryan Cullen for thirteenth. Michael Scott rounded up the top 15 as Dennis Olsen finished last in sixteenth, after having to pit in and lose laps earlier in the race.
Alex Lynn went off early on at turn one, prompting a red flag period and seriously affecting his position in the standings. Another non-finisher was Spike Goddard.
With the first round out of five completed, Serralles leads the championship with 196 points. His lead is far from substantial as Auer is right behind with 191 points. Race two winner Derani is in third, with 169 points.
The next round of the season will take place at Timaru International on 18-20 January.
Race 3 results
|1||Felix Serralles||Giles Motorsport||15m28.566s||20|
|2||Lucas Auer||Giles Motorsport||+1.638s||20|
|3||Steijn Schothorst||M2 Competition||+2.063s||20|
|4||Bruno Bonifacio||Giles Motorsport||+5.104s||20|
|5||Pipo Derani||Giles Motorsport||+5.728s||20|
|6||Damon Leitch||Victory Motor Racing||+5.995s||20|
|7||Jann Mardenborough||ETEC Motorsport||+6.613s||20|
|8||Nick Cassidy||M2 Competition||+7.436s||20|
|9||Akash Nandy||ETEC Motorsport||+12.937s||20|
|10||Nicholas Latifi||Giles Motorsport||+12.977s||20|
|11||Tatiana Calderon||ETEC Motorsport||+13.314s||20|
|12||Tanart Satienthirakul||ETEC Motorsport||+14.414s||20|
|13||Andrew Tang||ETEC Motorsport||+19.633s||20|
|14||Ryan Cullen||M2 Competition||+29.759s||20|
|15||Michael Scott||Victory Motor Racing||+33.658s||20|
|16||Dennis Olsen||M2 Competition||+4 laps||16|
|DNF||Spike Goddard||M2 Competition||+14 laps||6|
|DNF||Alex Lynn||M2 Competition||+17 laps||3|
|1||Felix Serralles||Giles Motorsport||196|
|2||Lucas Auer||Giles Motorsport||191|
|3||Pipo Derani||Giles Motorsport||169|
|4||Nick Cassidy||M2 Competition||160|
|5||Bruno Bonifacio||Giles Motorsport||145|
|6||Steijn Schothorst||M2 Competition||144|
|7||Alex Lynn||M2 Competition||120|
|8||Damon Leitch||Victory Motor Racing||117|
|9||Nicholas Latifi||Giles Motorsport||108|
|10||Jann Mardenborough||ETEC Motorsport||108|
|11||Tanart Satienthirakul||ETEC Motorsport||92|
|12||Tatiana Calderon||ETEC Motorsport||88|
|13||Akash Nandy||ETEC Motorsport||86|
|14||Dennis Olsen||M2 Competition||64|
|15||Michael Scott||Victory Motor Racing||62|
|16||Andrew Tang||ETEC Motorsport||60|
|17||Ryan Cullen||M2 Competition||58|
|18||Spike Goddard||M2 Competition||50|