Victory in the Lady Wigram Trophy race has propelled local teenager Marcus Armstrong into the lead of the Castrol Toyota Racing Series after three races at the Ruapuna track, Christchurch this weekend.
The 17 year old, who won the Italian Formula 4 title last year, took the lead from the start and wasn’t headed in the race for the historic trophy which dates back to 1951 and whose past winners include Bruce McLaren, Jim Clark and Stirling Moss.
“It was a hot race, I’m overwhelmed,” said an ecstatic Armstrong. Track temperatures reached 33 degrees for the 20 lap race. It’s great to do it in front of family and friends,” said Armstrong.
Armstrong got the better of pole position man Robert Shwartzman and was never headed. The 18 year old Russian’s initial launch was good, but then his car seemed to bog down and Armstrong got half a car length in front as they accelerated to the first corner side by side, where Armstrong emerged in front.
“I’m really happy for Matt Hamilton, who was my driving coach, as he won the trophy too,” said Armstrong.
Armstrong heads to Teretonga, Invercargill for the second round of the series with a 16 points lead over Shwartzman.
Richard Verschoor who won Saturday’s preliminary race is a distant third after failing to finish the Lady Wigram Trophy event.
Initially third, Verschoor battled past Shwartzman at the half way point, but neither were able to get close to Armstrong at any stage. A puncture scuppered Verschoor’s chances on lap 13.
The final place on the podium was taken by London’s James Pull, who held off a strong attack from Invercargill’s Brendon Leitch.
For a time the Englishman looked as if he might challenge Shwartzman, but dropped back after making a couple of mistakes. “Those cost me a lot of time and then I had to fight off Brendon.”
Earlier in the day, Armstrong had won the preliminary race from Verschoor and Shwartzman, while Pukekohe’s Taylor Cockerton had a good drive to fourth place.
Lady Wigram Trophy Race, 20 laps
1. Marcus Armstrong
2. Robert Shwartzman
3. James Pull
4. Brendon Leitch
5. Charles Milesi
6. Clement Novalak
7. Cameron Das
8, Juan-Manuel Correa
9. Ryan Yardley
10. Reid Harker