It is early days in the Toyota Racing Series but even after one round it looks like a three-way fight for the championship between Kiwi star Marcus Armstrong and promising Europeans Robert Shwartzman and Richard Verschoor.
Those three drivers looked a cut above the field in the three races at Ruapuna and but for a mechanical failure on Dutchman Verschoor's car in race three, they would have earned a lock-out of the podium positions across the weekend.

Armstrong won two of the three races and knows a bit about both rivals having competed against Verschoor last year while working with Swartzman at the Ferrari Young Driver Academy in Europe in 2017.

"I do think the three of us – Richard, Robert and I – will be quite close throughout the championship," Armstrong told The Herald. "I would like to think consistently we will be up there and maybe there will be some other drivers that will show some form as well.

"I know that Brendon Leitch is very experienced here in New Zealand so he is one to look out for especially going down to Teretonga [his local track].


"In saying that there are also some Europeans that will be quick as well like Clem Novalak, who I've known for a long time. For sure he could pull out some good performances as the season goes on.

In terms of being at the pointy end consistently though I think it will be a good five weeks with Robert and Richard."

While he barely seemed to miss a beat Armstrong feels he will be better for the seat time at Ruapuna and expects to be faster in Invercargill this weekend.

"We didn't get any dry testing and even qualifying was pretty changeable conditions so the races were the only real dry sessions," he explained.

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"That was ok for me. I was happy to get back into the rhythm of TRS cars – they are a lot different from F3 and they provide unique challenges.

"I learned a few things about the tyre compound and it was a bit of a refresh from the previous year."