Charles Milesi, the youngest driver in the Castrol Toyota Racing Series, surprised his rivals by setting the fastest time of the day in practice at Hampton Downs today, for this weekend’s third round.
The 16 year old was pleasantly surprised in his achievement in the first of three sessions he and the other drivers had to fine tune their cars for tomorrow (Saturday) morning’s qualifying.
“Last week I was nowhere,” said Milesi. “I couldn’t get the right line through the first corner at Teretonga.”
“I liked Ruapuna and I am starting to get more confident in the car and getting used to the grip from these tyres.”
“It will be great if I can keep improving.”
Like all the international drivers, Milesi is using the Toyota Racing Series to gather more racing and testing experience before he returns home for the Formula Renault Euro Cup. He currently lies tenth on the points table.
After a karting career he did some racing in the French F4 series and Northern Europe Renault Cup last year before coming to New Zealand. That introduction to single seater racing saw him take five wins and a further five podium places.
Milesi’s fastest time in the first session by three hundredths of a second to 18 year old Russian, Robert Shwartzman was not bettered in subsequent sessions as the track became more slippery with oil dropped by cars competing in some of the support classes.
Just three tenths of a second separates the top 10 drivers.
They will have two quick fire qualifying sessions for Saturday afternoon’s race and Sunday afternoon’s main event for the most coveted trophy in New Zealand motor racing, the NZ Motor Cup, which used to be awarded to the winner of the Grand Prix, when it was held at Ardmore and Pukekohe and has a long list of world famous names inscribed on it from the sport.
Fastest practice times from all 3 sessions
1, C Milesi (France) 60.381 seconds;
2, R Shwartzman (Russia) 60.418;
3, J-M Correa (USA) 60.531;
4, B Leitch (Invercargill) 60.552;
5, C Novalak (England) 60.553;
6, R Verschoor (Netherlands) 60.555
7, M Armstrong (Christchurch) 60.564;
8, C Das (USA) 60.570;
9, T Cockerton (Pukekohe) 60.596;
10, R Harker (Albany) 60.704.