Dutch flier soars at New Zealand Grand Prix

PETER LAMPP
Last updated 05:00 10/02/2013

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Setijn Schothorst set himself up for the New Zealand Grand Prix today by winning the first Toyota Racing Series race of the weekend at Manfeild yesterday.

It was 19-year-old Schothorst's first win of the five-week series, after a second placing at Taupo.

The Dutch flier 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 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, with Kiwi and last year's NZGP winner Nick Cassidy second ahead of Lynn, Austrian Lucas Auer and Schothorst's brother, Pieter, who arrived for 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 corner at the end of the main straight, he spun onto the gravel and his challenge was over.

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