Dutch teenager Richard Verschoor won the first race of the Castrol Toyota Racing Series at Ruapuna yesterday, leading from start to finish.

Fastest qualifier, Robert Shwartzman from Russia had to be content with second after stuttering away from the start. “That was the main issue,” the 18 year old admitted afterwards.

“I don’t think he was so bad,” said 17 year old Verschoor, “but I just got a really good start with a really good reaction time.”

Local driver Marcus Armstrong, also aged 17, finished third after starting fourth. Once he got past Clement Novalak on the fourth lap he managed to close a little on the front runners, but all three were lapping consistently.

Verschoor was a front runner in the series last year and eventually finished third and used that experience to control the race. “I didn’t push to the maximum and certainly think we can get the car performing better tomorrow.”

He will start third in the Lady Wigram Trophy, while Shwartzman will again be on pole position.

“I was catching Richard a little,” said the St Petersburg resident, “but I decided to back off and save the tyres for tomorrow’s first race.”

“It wasn’t a bad started for the series. Richard and Marcus have experience from last year.”

Armstrong was philosophical about his third place in the race he won 12 months ago. “Last year I won the first race of the series, but then didn’t win the championship. Maybe this year we can make the next 14 races count.”

Novalak finished fourth, with English driver James Pull fifth and Taylor Cockerton from Pukekohe completing the top 6 after starting tenth. He had a good mid race dice with Guyana’s Calvin Ming before getting past after sitting outside him around the first and second corners.

Castrol Toyota Racing Series, Round 1 Ruapuna, Race 1.

1. R Verschoor (Netherlands)
2. R Shwartzman (Russia)
3. M Armstrong (Christchurch)
4. C Novalak (England)
5. J Pull (England)
6. T Cockerton (Pukekohe);
7. C Ming (Guyana)
8. R Harker (Albany)
9. C Milesi (France)
10. J-M Correa (United States)