Back out on track for the second round of the Toyota Racing Series championship this weekend, Marcus Armstrong further extended his lead in the title fight, with a trio of skilful podiums.
Moving to Teretonga Park in Invercargill, the talented young racers were served up a new challenge in the 2.57 km long circuit. With a blisteringly high-speed straight and smooth flowing turns, the track offers limited opportunity for overtaking, but rewards speed and consistency. Fresh from his success in the season opener, the Kiwi racing star was eager to continue his strong championship campaign.
Struggling for track position, the Kiwi narrowly missed the opportunity to pull together the perfect lap in the first of two qualifying sessions. But with confidence in the car beneath him and ever the perfectionist, Marcus reset his sights on pole position in the second session. But as the cars returned to the track on Saturday morning, it soon became clear that there was a problem with the tyre rim. Peeling back into the pits, the team set to work in resolving the issue, racing against the clock to ensure there was enough time for Marcus to set a lap. Unfazed by the challenge, the Ferrari-backed young driver returned to the session to set just 3 timed laps. Showcasing his speed, his efforts were awarded pole position for the race on Sunday.
“It was tricky with having a problem with the rim, so we had to box pretty early on. But with only 3 push laps in the whole session, getting pole felt great, I was really happy with my performance”
Pushing from 4th on the grid for Race 1, the resolute racer gave a stunning start to leap into third by the first corner. Hot on the tail of Shwartzman, with overtaking notoriously tricky at Teretonga, Marcus posted lap after lap of improving pace, pressuring his rival into making a mistake. Taking the flag saw Marcus continue his podium run, his first lap launch rewarded with 3rd place.
Marcus capitalised on his 4th place start in Race 2, where despite saving the better tyres for the crowning trophy race on Sunday afternoon, saw him claim another podium. Following a false-start penalty for Novalak, the promotion to 3rd place awarded the Christchurch driver another healthy haul of points ahead of his title rivals.
Confidently starting from pole position for the Spirit of the Nation Trophy race, the Ferrari Driver Academy star was eager to seal the weekend with another strong performance. Roaring off the line as the lights went out, Marcus narrowly missed the lead into turn one. Undeterred, he hooked on the tail of Novalak, never wavering as he pushed on throughout the 25 lap race, to cross the line in 2nd place.
Sealing off his weekend with another shiny trophy to his name, Marcus felt confident in his position in the championship:
“It’s been a pretty solid weekend all round, whilst I’d obviously love to get the race win, we got the round win and if we can continue like this I will be happy.”
Appearing on every podium of the season so far, Marcus has proved himself as a force to be reckoned with, and extended his lead over nearest rival by 28 points. With focus moving to next weekend, where the Toyota Racing Series championship will be back in action in Hampton Downs on 27-28th January.