The rivalry between Liam Lawson and Marcus Armstrong is set to continue tomorrow morning, with the pair of Kiwi teenagers locking out the front row for the opening race of the Castrol Toyota Racing Series tomorrow afternoon in Taupō.
The race in question is the longer-distance 25-lapper that was initially scheduled to take place at Teretonga Park two weekends ago, before adverse forecasted weather forced cancellation of the rest of the day. This feature race will be followed by another race, with two more races scheduled for Sunday.
Armstrong was the first to set a representative time in the session, clocking a 1:24.347. It triggered a flurry of subsequent times, with long-time series rival Lawson slotting ahead on a 1:24.268.
The pair held the top as the clock dipped to five minutes to go (Cameron Das, Raoul Hyman, and Esteban Muth in chase from third to fifth). Lawson improved on his time to increase the gap to Armstrong, but even so the margin was still less than a tenth of a second.
The closing moments featured more change at the back end of the top five and beyond. Kazuto Kotaka and Brendon Leitch improved, taking over a short-lived third and fourth before being leap-frogged by Lucas Auer, Das, and Artem Petrov.
Lawson would improve his benchmark again in the dying moments; this time enlarging the gap to more than two tenths over Armstrong (via a 1:24.137). Armstrong immediately returned fire, trimming the gap back down to a tenth, while Hyman jumped to fourth in the background.
In the final cycle of laps just two drivers — Calan Williams and Kotaka — improved. However neither lap changed the order; Lawson led, over Armstrong, Auer, Hyman, Das, and Petrov in sixth in a field where the top eight were separated by less than nine tenths of a second.
The opening race is scheduled for 1.35pm tomorrow, with another race following at 5.25pm. Check in to Driven.co.nz for live streaming.
Results; race one qualifying Toyota Racing Series, Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park
1. Liam Lawson
2. Marcus Armstrong
3. Lucas Auer
4. Raoul Hyman
5. Cameron Das
6. Artem Petrov
7. Calan Williams
8. Kazuto Kotaka
9. Brendon Leitch
10. Esteban Muth
11. Jackson Walls
12. Petru Florescu
13. Parker Locke
14. Dev Gore
15. Thomas Smith
16. Petr Ptacek