Lawson breaks lap record, wins

Liam Lawson leads the charge during Race 3 of the Toyota Racing Series event at Highlands...
Liam Lawson leads the charge during Race 3 of the Toyota Racing Series event at Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell yesterday. PHOTOS: BRUCE JENKINS
Kiwi teen sensation Liam Lawson has set an early season marker.

Beginning his title defence, the 17-year-old was in blistering form during the Toyota Racing Series (TRS) season opener in Cromwell over the weekend, winning two of the three races.

Lawson gets covered in bubbly by Franco Colapinto after winning the Toyota Racing Series opener.
Lawson gets covered in bubbly by Franco Colapinto after winning the Toyota Racing Series opener.
It culminated in a consecutive Dorothy Smith Memorial Trophy in yesterday’s feature race.

Lawson had secured pole position in a thrilling qualifying session when he broke the Highlands Motorsport Park lap record.

"It was actually a very challenging weekend. This car is a lot more physical to drive than last year’s," he said.

"The longer races at the end of the weekend are very tough ... I wanted to maximise points today and I’m very happy to have achieved that."

Two seconds back was Argentinian Franco Colapinto, followed by Lawson’s M2 Competition team mate Igor Fraga, of Brazil.

Lawson had commanded the 20-lap race from the outset, although his challenge was made easier by front-row starter Caio Collet pulling into the pit lane following the warm-up lap.

It capped off a luckless weekend for the Brazilian who was denied a win in Saturday’s first race when he was penalised for a practice start on the warm-up lap, thus handing Lawson the win.

Red Bull Junior Yuki Tsunoda won yesterday’s second race ahead of Denmark’s Oliver Rasmussen and Germany’s Lirim Zendeli in second and third respectively.

The second race grid was based on Saturday’s Race 1 results as the top six started in reverse finishing order.

Lawson has opened up a 15-point buffer at the top of the leaderboard followed by Fraga, and Tsunoda a further point back, as the series moves to Invercargill next weekend for Round 2 at Teretonga Raceway.

In other results, Peter Vodanovich enjoyed consecutive wins in the second round of the Toyota 86 Championship.

However Christchurch’s Jaden Ransley, who had pushed Vodanovich hard all weekend, got one back on his rival to win yesterday’s third and final race and with it the series lead.

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