Dutch driver claims first race at Manfeild
Dutchman Steijn Schothorst has set himself up for the New Zealand Grand Prix on Sunday by winning the first Toyota Racing Series race of the weekend at Manfeild.
It was 19-year-old Schothorst's first win of the five-week series, after a second placing at Taupo.
He did it with a searing start off the front row of the grid to leave pole-sitter, Englishman Alex Lynn, in his wake.
Schothorst had a shudder or two at the first corner on the opening flying lap but from there was never headed to win the 20-lap Dan Higgins Memorial Trophy race.
Unfortunately it finished under the yellow flag after Briton Jann Mardenborough slid sideways off the esses into the tyres with five laps to go.
"That was disappointing," Schothorst said.
"It is always better to finish the way it should be.
"Our plan was to get a good start and get on the right side of the track and we did it.
"As for the New Zealand Grand Prix, it would e a dream because it's an awesome event. I'm starting from third so it will be a little more difficult; but it's possible."
The top four cleared away yesterday and that order didn't change. Kiwi and last year's NZGP winner Nick Cassidy was second ahead of Lynn, Austrian Lucas Auer and Schothorst's brother, Pieter, who had arrived from the Netherlands for only the final round.
Defending series champion Cassidy has stretched his series lead to 773 points from Auer (728), Lynn (714) and Steijn Schothorst (640).
Meanwhile, Australian driver Jason Bargwanna was a clear winner in the only NZ V8s race of the day.
He was driving one of only four of the new-generation V8s in the 10-lap rolling-start race.
He started on pole and was never headed. However, Hamilton's Martin Short had also been on the front row of the grid and with two laps remaining was closing on Bargwanna.
Short was in the new Toyota Camry TLX but when he pushed too hard into the Toyota corner at the end of the main straight, he spun onto the gravel and his challenge was over.
That allowed Nick Ross (Cambridge) in his Holden TLX to scoot through for second place.
Short did come back for third after passing the sparkling silver new-generation Ford TLX of Haydn McKenzie which was having its first outing in the series.
The NZV8s did attract a field of 15 with 11 of the previous class of TL cars making up the numbers.
They were headed by Andrew Anderson from Kevin Williams.