Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
A thrilling second qualifying session saw the Highlands Motorsport Park lap record smashed as Liam Lawson snatched pole position in the dying moments from Brazil’s Caio Collet for the Castrol Toyota Racing Series feature race on Sunday.
The two racers look set to become the two protagonists in this season’s championship and showed their form late into the session. All four of the championship’s team’s featured in the top five places, with the surprise of the session being Argentina’s Franco Colapinto who grabbed third on the grid for Kiwi Motorsport.
The session formed the grid for Sunday afternoon’s feature race for the Dorothy Smith Memorial Trophy.
Lawson was first to lower the record for the fastest ever lap of the circuit – in either qualifying or race sessions – when he clocked a 1 minute 28.052 with seven minutes of the 15 minute session remaining. M2 Motorsport team mate Igor Fraga then re-write the history books as the first driver to lap the track in under 1.28 when he circulated the 4.1km track in 1 minute 27.968 seconds. Colapinto then went under 1 minute 28 as well before Lawson scorched round to reset the mark at a blistering 1 minute 27.4 seconds.
That four tenths of a second margin looked safe but as the session entered its final moments Collet, fired up after the disappointment of losing his and mtec Motorsport’s first win on Saturday, fired in two great laps first to match Lawson and then go quicker.
When German Lirim Zendeli went off the road with seconds to go, pole looked safe for Collet but Lawson had other ideas and kept his foot hard on the gas as the dust settled, visibly committed through the final corner to stop the clocks at an amazing 1 minute 27.3 seconds, eight tenths quicker than the best lap recorded ever recorded at Highlands.
With Lawson and Collet locking out the front row, Colapinto took an impressive third with his best effort and Igor Fraga maintained his form with fourth position and a second row start for the feature race. Grégoire Saucy was top Giles Motorsport runner with a solid fifth and Yuki Tsunoda, Red Bull’s second junior racing in the series along with Lawson, clocked the sixth best time to complete the third row.
The fourth row for the feature race will be led by Lirim Zendeli in seventh with Israel’s Ido Cohen also improving on his Saturday form to take eighth.
The Czech Republic’s Petr Ptacek and Denmark’s Oliver Rasmussen complete the top ten. The lap record – which must be recorded in an actual race – will now be under serious threat with two races remaining on Sunday.
Castrol Toyota Racing Series – Round 1 Highlands Motorsport Park – Qualifying 2
1. Liam Lawson – M2 Competition
2. Caio Collet – mtec Motorsport
3. Franco Colapinto – Kiwi Motorsport
4. Igor Fraga – M2 Competition
5. Grégoire Saucy – Giles Motorsport
6. Yuki Tsunoda – M2 Competition
7. Lirim Zendeli – Giles Motorsport
8. Ido Cohen – M2 Competition
9. Petr Ptacek – mtec Motorsport
10. Oliver Rasmussen – mtec Motorsport
11. Jackson Walls – mtec Motorsport
12. Emilien Denner – M2 Competition
13. Lucas Petersson – mtec Motorsport
14. Axel Gnos – Kiwi Motorsport
15. Spike Kohlbecker – Kiwi Motorsport
16. Rui Andrade – M2 Competition
17. Henning Enqvist – Giles Motorsport
18. Jose Blanco – Kiwi Motorsport
19. Chelsea Herbert – Giles Motorsport
DNS Amaury Cordeel – Kiwi Motorsport
2020 Castrol Toyota Racing Series
17-19 January 2020: Highlands Motorsport Park, Cromwell – Dorothy Smith Memorial Trophy
24-26 January 2020: Teretonga Park, Invercargill – Spirit of a Nation Cup
1-2 February 2020: Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, Waikato – Denny Hulme Trophy
7-9 February 2020: Pukekohe Park, Pukekohe – New Zealand Motor Cup
15-16 February 2020: Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon, Feilding – New Zealand Grand Prix