Motorsport: Armstrong wins opening TRS race

By Matthew Hansen

Marcus Armstrong in action during the opening round of the Toyota Racing Series. Photo / Matthew Hansen
Marcus Armstrong in action during the opening round of the Toyota Racing Series. Photo / Matthew Hansen

16-year-old Marcus Armstrong has defied the odds to win the opening race of the 2017 Castrol Toyota Racing Series in Christchurch while on debut in the series.

Starting the race from second place, Armstrong shadowed pole-sitter and teammate Jehan Daruvala for much of the race. However a passing move following the race's lone safety car gave the New Zealander the opportunity he needed to snatch first place.

But despite the scale of achievement, Armstrong was calm and relaxed following the race.

"[Winning ] - that was the plan from months ago when we decided to do this championship," Armstrong told herald.co.nz.

"We only finished racing a few months ago, we've had a few days of testing too - so I'm not completely rusty.

"So, why not?"

The driver sneaked past the race leader during the race restart, after getting side by side with Daruvala on the run to turn one, before emerging with the lead of the race on the other side.

"[The move] was instinctual. You can't plan a move like that," he explained.

"I did what my feeling was - I tried it, and I was in a position where I could pull out if Jehan [Daruvala] came over. But it wasn't too risky in the end in my opinion.

"A lot of people have been saying that it was, but I didn't see it that way."

Having claimed the maiden race win, Armstrong now says that the championship crown is in his sights.

"Absolutely. It's a championship. To me, I'll be honest, I'm not going for these cups or trophies or anything in particular. I'm looking for the points and a consistent run," he said.

"At the end of the weekend, [they're] just another race for points."

Rounding out the podium behind the battling leaders was Red Bull Giles Motorsport racer Richard Verschoor. Thomas Randle and fellow New Zealander Taylor Cockerton rounded out the top five, while the third of the Kiwis, Brendon Leitch, took ninth place.

The Castrol Toyota Racing Series have two more races at Mike Pero Motorsport Park tomorrow, with the prestigious Lady Wigram Trophy to be decided tomorrow afternoon.

- NZ Herald

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