Wanganui 19-year-old Earl Bamber has finished today’s third race in the opening round of the 2010 Toyota Racing Series in second place after starting from pole at Invercargill’s Teretonga race circuit
Initial woe with the gearbox in the Toyota FT40 was rectified overnight by Bamber’s Triple X Motorsport engineer group, allowing the former A1 Team New Zealand driver the opportunity to race for results.
However the pole position start was short-lived when Bamber nearly followed the car alongside him that jumped the start.
“It was mistake on my behalf at the start – the guy on the next row went and I followed, then stopped as I realised he was a bit early, then nearly stalled the car. So that was a distraction – but I take the blame for that,” said Bamber.
Looking back at his return to New Zealand’s premier wing’s and slicks race category, Bamber says the cars are so close there is little opportunity for overtaking – leaving one key to race success: “We have to put it down to qualifying at the start of the weekend. So I’m looking forward to Timaru next weekend – as we have a car that has improved ten-fold over the weekend with help from the fantastic team.”
Behind Bamber in the three-car Triple X Motorsport Toyota team, 21-year-old Stefan Webling of New Plymouth says his first championship round was a great learning experience.
“Obviously it was tough. We started out with a nice car and the pace was good. In these cars you have to qualify well to race well – which was evident in the last race when I had a fast car but a slow guy in front of me and I just couldn’t get past.”
Brisbane’s Chris Wootton introduction to racing in New Zealand has been challenged by a car that was assembled late on Thursday after damage to the monocoque tub.
“It’s a very professional series – and the cars are fun when they are running right. If it’s not running so well it’s not fun to drive,” said the 21-year-old.
With the second championship round next weekend at Timaru, the cars will be prepared on-site at the Levels Raceway for another three races (23-24 January).