Michael Scott and Jack Milligan are emerging as key rivals in the 2017-2018 Toyota 86 Championship, after round four at Teretonga near Invercargill.
While in past years a clear leader has emerged at the six-round championship’s mid-point, both Scott and Milligan are sharing race wins and locking down the top of the points table – the margin between the two after 12 races is just two points.
Milligan (Christchurch) came into the round trailing Auckland’s Connor Adam who led the Championship. Milligan said before racing began he was determined to regain the Championship lead he held briefly at the previous round.
He put in a forceful but clean drive to take the first race of round four. Christchurch 16 year old Jaden Ransley had secured a rare double pole and went out in the first race keen to retain his position, but it was not to be.
Rather, Jack Milligan – one of two drivers in the CareVets racing team – would hunt Ranley down remorselessly over the opening half dozen laps. A clean pass put the CareVets senior driver into the lead.
He took an unfussed, unhurried victory to move into the overnight championship lead. Attrition has begun to play a prt if the Championship points chase. Tom Alexander came in last in an ill-handling car and would take no further part in racing.
In the second TR 86 race on the Sunday morning, Ransley crashed out when his car and that of CareVets Scholarship driver Bramley King made contact. The Ransley car was written off when it slid at high speed off the track and into the tyre wall at turn five. Michael Scott ran out the winner of the second race.
Then in the final race of the day he made the most of Ransley’s absence from pole and slotted across to the lead when the race started. He was never headed, though Jack Milligan carved his way through to challenge rookie points leader Jordan Baldwin and briefly hold second before he slid wide and ended up third. That sealed a top weekend for rookie leader Jordan Baldwin, who took two second places; Bramwell King had his best of the weekend with third in the final race. Newcomer Peter Vodanovich took an excellent fourth overall.
The Toyota 86 Championship rejoins the summer series at the New Zealand Grand Prix, held at Manfeild from February 9-11.