Motorsport: Organised Auer takes top spot

By Eric Thompson

Felix Serralles of Puerto Rico. Photo / Getty Images
Felix Serralles of Puerto Rico. Photo / Getty Images

Austrian driver and returnee to the Toyota Racing Series Lucas Auer has supplanted Puerto Rican pilot Felix Serralles at the top of the championship after round two at Timaru.

The 18-year-old has matured in the past year since he was last in New Zealand and no longer goes looking for tyre barriers to hit. In the past he was fast but erratic, now he's fast and organised.

It may have something to do with his genes, as his uncle and adviser is Gerhard Burger, the ex-Formula One driver who had 10 Grand Prix wins and finished third twice in world championships.

For the second weekend in a row, Auer was fast out of the box, finishing the weekend with a first, a fifth and a second in the feature race.

Yesterday's main race for the Timaru Herald Trophy was the best contest of the weekend, with Auer and Alex Lynn battling over the entire 20 laps.

Lynn came out on top, which was a great fillip for the British driver after his big crash in the feature at Teretonga while fighting for the lead with Serralles.

"This is what should have happened at Teretonga but it was a hard race," said Lynn. "I was defending the whole race, to be honest.

"I was quick and pulling away from the rest of the field but Lucas came with me. He put me under a lot of pressure and I was working really, really hard all through the race."

Defending TRS champion Nick Cassidy is still looking for his first race win but finished the weekend on the podium twice and set a new lap record in the third race.

Auer continued his good form from the opening round at Teretonga in race one on Saturday where he dominated the field to win from Cassidy and Bruno Bonifacio.

"It wasn't as easy as it looked. It got a bit slippery towards the end of the race so I didn't push too hard. It's a small track that's quite twisty but I like it," said Auer.

Championship leader after the first round, Serralles was hampered by problems in qualifying and couldn't improve on his sixth place start.

Race two was a reverse grid top six affair and Serralles made the most of his start from pole to lead the field into the first corner and was never really challenged for the rest of the race.

Kiwi driver Damon Leitch slotted in behind the leader, Cassidy passed Bonifacio to settle into third, and that was the race order as they crossed the finish line.

The series now heads to Taupo for round three next weekend.

Australian V8 Supercar driver Jason Bargwanna increased his lead in the NZV8s, winning two of three races in his new generation V8.

TRS points

After round two
1 Lucas Auer, Austria 382
2 Felix Serralles, Puerto Rico 376
3 Nick Cassidy, New Zealand 329
4 Pipo Derani, Brazil 289
5 Damon Leitch, New Zealand 282
= Alex Lynn, UK 282
7 Stejin Schothorst, Netherlands 270
8 Bruno Bonifacio, Brazil 259.

- NZ Herald

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