Marcus Armstrong made good on his aim to claim victory this weekend, as the Toyota Racing Series took to the track in Teretonga. In signature style, the Kiwi racer dominated track action, before weather cut short his run of form, with high winds forcing the remaining two races to be cancelled. Opening his winning account, saw Marcus boost himself to joint lead of the championship
Topping the Timesheets
Revelling in the thrilling nature of New Zealand’s fastest circuit, which boasts high-speed straight and smooth flowing turns, Marcus hit the ground running as the track opened for business on Thursday. Leading the timesheets for the majority of the day, he was only pipped to fastest time in the closing moments of the final test session. This strong form carried through to the practice, where he continued to place at the sharp end of the timings throughout the three sessions.
Taking to the 2.57 km long circuit for qualifying, rain threw a tantalising curveball into proceedings. But with skill on his side, Marcus didn’t let weather deter his chances to claim an all important starting position for Saturday’s race. With fellow Kiwi and championship contender Liam Lawson setting the initial target early on in the session, Marcus grappled at the wheel in attempt to match his time. Sweeping through the southernly-most circuit against the tricky conditions, the 18-year-old ended a mere tenth from claiming pole position. With a front row start for the race, the Ferrari Driver Academy star set all his focus on claiming the top spot when racing began.
Reigning in the rain
Racing under wet conditions once again, the grid fired up on Saturday morning. At a track that offers limited opportunity for overtaking, Marcus had every confidence in the car beneath him and his own skill to take the fight to the first corner. With a rocket launch off the grid, the dynamic Kiwi immediately took the lead and pulled an impressive gap to the pack, stretching a 3s lead within the first three laps. Despite a stellar start and strong pace, his efforts became undone as safety car on lap 12 bunched the pack together once more. With Lawson hot on his tail, Marcus rose to the challenge, holding his nerve, he controlled the restart perfectly to maintain his advantage. In a fraught dash to the flag, the pair duelled in supreme style, Marcus holding off every attempt from his rival, until Lawson was forced into a mistake which separated the pair. Taking the final flag in style, Marcus took to the top step of the podium at the end of a hard-earned race, claiming his first win of 2019.
Speaking of his maiden win of the year:
"It certainly wasn't the easiest of races but it was fun and I really enjoyed it. It was difficult conditions, but the M2 guys gave me a great car. I’m looking forward to getting back out there and fighting for more wins"
Unfortunately Marcus’ efforts were halted, with weather conditions worsening on Saturday and into Sunday, the decision was made to curtail the weekend’s racing on safety grounds. The rescheduled races will be contested at Hampton Downs next week and Taupo Motorsport Park the following week.
Ready to continue his winning form, focus moves to next weekend, where the Toyota Racing Series championship will be back in action in Hampton Downs on 26-27th January. Marcus Armstrong now is in the joint championship lead with 113 points.