Evans puts on show for fans before heading to Europe for start of GP2
Mitch Evans has made a flying visit to Hampton Downs - in more ways than one - before he jets to Europe for the GP2 season.
The two-time Toyota Racing Series winner and his sponsors put together a one-off gig at the fourth round of the championship to thank his fans and backers before he joins his Euro outfit, Arden International.
Despite not having been in a race car since September, Evans set pole in both qualifying races, won race one, finished fourth in the reverse-grid top four second race and took out the New Zealand Motor Cup feature race.
"The weekend has done my confidence a lot of good before I go to Europe and get ready for the GP2 season," Evans said.
"It's a good way to start the season and know I'm still competitive and win races against some tough competition."
It was also a good weekend for series leader and defending champion Nick Cassidy. He piled on the points to lead the championship by 32 points from Austrian Lucas Auer and Brit Alex Lynn.
A bonus for Cassidy and his team was gaining their first win. He's been Mr Consistent, finishing outside the top five only twice in 12 races and has been on the podium seven times.
The Aucklander took full advantage of the reverse-grid top four race to bolt away from pole position to win the 15-lapper from Pipo Derani and Auer.
"I was relieved to finally get my first race win after coming close a few times," said Cassidy.
"More important, though, is extending the points gap over Lucas [and] heading to the final round at Manfeild next weekend with a bit of a buffer."
Seven drivers still have a chance to win the title but realistically it'll be a battle between three.
Cassidy and Auer have swapped the series lead and the points gap between them has never been much.
Lynn has rocketed into contention after a miserable opening round at Teretonga where he crashed spectacularly in the feature race.
Lynn has been on a charge since, and could pip the other two to become the first international driver to win the nine-year-old championship. For video highlights of spins and wins at Hampton Downs, go to bit.ly/14yTnWJ
TRS points after four rounds
1 Nick Cassidy 706
2 Lucas Auer 674
3 Alex Lynn 623
4 Felix Serralles 572
5 Steijn Schothorst 565
6 Pipo Derani 498
7 Damon Leitch 491