Kiwi single seater driver Taylor Cockerton has claimed his first race win and two podiums at the opening round of the 2017 Formula Masters Series.
After completing four races at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, the Pukekohe driver is now third overall on the points table behind Daniel Lu and Daniel Frost.
Having set the second fastest time in the opening qualifying, Cockerton then claimed pole position in the second session. However, the first race didn't go to plan when another driver took Cockerton out of the race.
"That was unfortunate," commented Cockerton. "We had a difficult couple of days in testing leading up to the race weekend. We just couldn't find the right setup for the car. The first qualifying session was wet but the second one started drying out. Only a couple of us went out on drys (tyres) and I was able to grab pole."
The second race saw Cockerton starting from ninth, determined by lap times in the first race.
"That was a great race. I set fastest lap and passed a lot of cars to finish second, so great to get a podium.
"We started the third race on new tyres from P1. It was a much shorter one than the others, just fifteen minutes or about six laps of Sepang. I held the lead but we had a safety car after three laps. Once released, it was a pretty hectic last two laps. I made a mistake and was caught but in the end held on for the win which I'm really thrilled to get, the first one in a long time."
The win was backed up by another podium in the final race of the round. Having started fifth on the grid a stunning first lap saw Cockerton up to third, a position he held to the end.
"Sepang is an amazing track," Cockerton said. "It's both technical with fast corners, it's wide so you can fire the car down the inside of others while braking and there are plenty of run-off areas.
"It's been a great experience, particularly working with the Cebu Pacific Air by PRT team. And we are looking forward to more race wins and podiums.
The series now has a four-week break before returning to Sepang for the second of five rounds.