Kiwi Motorsport’s Tijmen van der Helm set the pace in the first free practice session for the Toyota Racing Series season finale at Manfeild.
It was MTEC Motorsport by R-ace GP’s Lucas Petersson who was fastest in the first half of the session, before a red flag paused running halfway through.
When the session resumed with 10 minutes on the clock, van der Helm quickly jumped up through the order with a series of fast laps.
The Dutch driver’s final efforts first put him just behind Petersson, by 0.046 seconds, and then put in laps that put him several tenths clear of the Swede, who failed to improve on his own best.
Giles Motorsport’s Lirim Zendeli rose up to third, with 0.071s covering himself and M2 Competition’s title rivals Liam Lawson and Igor Fraga.
Franco Colapinto was the first of the title contenders to be at the front, as the Kiwi Motorsport driver was in second place before the red flag interruption. He couldn’t find the same improvements as his chief rivals though and slipped to sixth, ahead of Yuki Tsunoda (M2) and Jackson Walls (MTEC)
Title outsider Gregoire Saucy was 10th fastest for Giles, with his one-off team-mate and circuit expert Kenny Smith back in 18th. The 78-year-old, contesting his 49th New Zealand Grand Prix this weekend, was less than two seconds off the pace.
Free practice results
|1||Tijmen van der Helm||Kiwi Motorsport||1m03.182s|
|2||Lucas Petersson||MTEC by R-ace GP||+0.390s|
|3||Lirim Zendeli||Giles Motorsport||+0.451s|
|4||Liam Lawson||M2 Competition||+0.454s|
|5||Igor Fraga||M2 Competition||+0.522s|
|6||Franco Colapinto||Kiwi Motorsport||+0.561s|
|7||Yuki Tsunoda||M2 Competition||+0.598s|
|8||Jackson Walls||MTEC by R-ace GP||+0.603s|
|9||Petr Ptacek||MTEC by R-ace GP||+0.609s|
|10||Gregoire Saucy||Giles Motorsport||+0.737s|
|11||Oliver Rasmussen||MTEC by R-ace GP||+0.823s|
|12||Spike Kohlbecker||Kiwi Motorsport||+0.876s|
|13||Caio Collet||MTEC by R-ace GP||+0.989s|
|14||Henning Enqvist||Giles Motorsport||+1.135s|
|15||Emilien Denner||M2 Competition||+1.167s|
|16||Axel Gnos||Kiwi Motorsport||+1.187s|
|17||Rui Andrade||M2 Competition||+1.340s|
|18||Kenny Smith||Giles Motorsport||+1.814s|
|19||Ido Cohen||M2 Competition||+2.121s|