Kiwi driver Taylor Cockerton heads to the next three rounds of the Castrol Toyota Racing Series sixth overall on the leader board after gaining more points over the weekend at Teretonga Park in Invercargill.
In a weekend of wet, cold and windy weather, the Waikato University student finished sixth, fifth and ninth in three races held at the second of five consecutive rounds of the international series. “Overall considering the circumstances it was definitely a good weekend,” commented Cockerton. “We may not have shown outright pace as we did the previous weekend at Ruapuna but points wise it was a solid weekend.” Unfortunately, an electrical problem that plagued the team in the last race at Ruapuna reared its ugly head in qualifying on Saturday morning. “It put us on the back foot,” said Cockerton. “Otherwise I’m confident we would have been further up the grid. However starting 12th and finishing sixth (race 1) was a good result.” A lights to flag victory for Australian Thomas Randle was short lived after being penalised 10 seconds for jumping the start. That relegated him to seventh place, elevating championship leader Richard Verschoor (Netherlands) and local Brendon Leitch and Pedro Piquet (Brazil) to the top three places Cockerton spent most of the race endeavouring to get past Jehan Daruvala after making up three places on the opening lap. His efforts to go around the outside of Daruvala through the 180 km/h first corner showed plenty of bravery, but weren’t quite sufficient. Saturday’s dry conditions were not to last as 20 drivers and teams faced a very wet Sunday with a race in the morning and the 20-lap Spirit of the Nation Cup feature race in the afternoon. “We hadn’t done any wet weather driving since last year and in the second race we had a bit too much oversteer,” commented Cockerton. “Sunday was a matter of finishing races which we did.” Pedro Piquet won the 15 lap second race of the round with Cockerton coming in fifth behind Verschoor, Randle and fellow Kiwi Marcus Armstrong. Starting 11th in the final 20-lap feature race, it was always going to be difficult to fight for podium contention. In difficult conditions, Verschoor won from Daruvala, Randle and Armstrong with Cockerton finishing ninth. “Overall I’m happy to finish all three races,” said Cockerton. “We had issues in qualifying, Teretonga is a difficult circuit to pass but we finished races and gathered points while others around us didn’t.” The series now heads to the North Island with the fourth round at Hampton Downs this weekend in the North Waikato. “I’m pretty confident heading north to tracks I know. I’ve done a lot of laps at Hampton Downs. It’s a challenging track that I know very well. If it is dry then I am confident we can have the pace we had at Ruapuna. “It will be about finishing, minimising mistakes and scoring points.