Toyota Racing Series championship leader Marcus Armstrong is sticking to his guns as he looks to tighten his grip on the title.
The 17-year-old has demonstrated a willingness to settle for second place in races this season and bank the big haul of points that goes with it rather than risking it all battling for wins. It was a lesson he learned from his maiden crack at the series last year.
The theory has seen him finish all nine races on the podium so far and has given him a healthy but not insurmountable lead in the championship heading into this weekend's penultimate round at Taupo.
"We are just going to keep extending the points lead even if it is just small each weekend," Armstrong told The Herald.
"It is all going to plan but we can't lift off."
The Ferrari Young Driver Academy member finished on the podium at all three races at Hampton Downs last week but opted against pushing hard for a race win. In the feature race for the New Zealand Motor Cup, Armstrong had Richard Verschoor in his sights and had one little go at trying to pass the Dutchman late in the race. He ultimately gave it up
"I wanted to win that last race," Armstrong said. "To be honest that's the first time this season I have been almost pissed off that I didn't win it.
"We are so much quicker in my opinion – I have a really good car underneath me – so it sucked a wee bit."
Armstrong's theory will change when they get to the season-ending New Zealand Grand Prix however. The carrot of getting his name etched on a trophy won by so many of the biggest names in the sport is too big a drawcard.
"There are a lot of top drivers that have won it. It is a race that I have watched on television since I was very young.
"I really want to win that one. The main focus is the championship but that race is different."
Armstrong will look to build enough of a point's gap in Taupo so that is irrelevant.
"I love that track at Taupo," he said. "To be honest I am happy we are going there now. I am glad we've got these other ones out of the way.
"I really enjoy Taupo, especially in this car."
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