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Winning start for Gaunt in TRS opener

 

Defending champion Daniel Gaunt made a winning start to his 2006/07 Toyota Racing Series campaign with two wins from three starts at the first round of the 2006/07 Mike Pero Motorsport Series at Pukekohe's Pukekohe Park Raceway this weekend.


Defending champion Daniel Gaunt made a winning start to his 2006/07 Toyota Racing Series campaign with two wins from three starts at the first round of the 2006/07 Mike Pero Motorsport Series at Pukekohe's Pukekohe Park Raceway this weekend.

The 23-year-old Aucklander was in dominant form from the start of the weekend, claiming pole position and a runaway race win on Saturday, and coming very close to winning both races on Sunday.

He won the first in swash-buckling style from Ben Harford and (on the road at least) rookie International Motorsport teammate Shayne Van Gisbergen, and led the 20-lap Denny Hulme Memorial Trophy final before spinning rather than hit a car he was lapping.

Fortunately he was able to get back onto the track without any damage and crossed the line fifth, scoring enough points to keep the overall round win in his grasp.

After collecting his trophy and bottle of champagne, the young International Motorsport team leader was upbeat about the weekend, accepting that sometimes - as was the case in the third race - discretion is the better form of valour.

"Obviously the perfect weekend would be three-out-of-three but, you know, I still managed to win the weekend and that's what I came here to do."

It was a good weekend for the Giltrap Group's International Motorsport squad with Gaunt's rookie teammate Shayne Van Gisbergen proving the ideal lieutenant.

The 17-year-old shadowed Gaunt in testing on Friday, setting the second quickest time in the final session, then set the eighth quickest time in qualifying and finishing the first race of the weekend in a strong fifth position.

A 20 second time penalty saw him officially credited with finishing 12th in the second race but that was after crossing the line in third place behind Gaunt and Harford.

The piece de resistance was the Denny Hulme Trophy race however where he joined teammate Gaunt on the front row of the grid then crossed the line in second place.

Not bad for a rookie?

"It was definitely good to get that podium under my belt," he told reporters afterwards." It was good for my confidence and good for the team "

Having captivated fans with his exuberant driving in the New Zealand Ford Ford Championship last year Van Gisbergen proved once again why he is rated as the country's most talented up-and-coming driver.

And there's more, he reckons, to come.

"I'm definitely going to have to change my driving style if I am going to challenge Daniel," he said. "It was good to start beside him in that last race and follow him for a few laps, but when I tried to stay with him I started to make mistakes and Ben was able to get by.

"When I was behind him (Daniel) I could see where he was making up time though, so I know what I have to do."

The Toyota Racing Series now heads south for two rounds at Christchurch's Powerbuilt International Raceway at Ruapuna Park, the second over the November 25/26 and the third in early January.

2006/07 Parker ENZED NZ V8s Championship Toyota Racing Series Rnd 1 Pukekohe Park Raceway Fri/Sat/Sun Nov 3/4/5 2006

Qualifying
1. Daniel Gaunt (Auckland) 54.382
2. Nic Jordan (Cambridge) 54.805
3. Andy Knight (Christchurch) 54.813
4. Ben Harford (Wellington) 54.832
5. Shane Van Gisbergen (Auckland) 54.896
6. Christina Orr (Whakatane) 54.916
7. Hamad Al Fardan (Bahrain) 54.919
8. Ben Clucas (UK) 54.937
9. Earl Bamber (Wanganui) 54.958
10. Marc Doran (Christchurch) 54.970

Race 1
1. Daniel Gaunt 11.04.374
2. Ben Harford +4.217
3. Andy Knight +54.877
4. Ben Clucas +7.814
5. Shane Van Gisbergen +11.631
6. Daynom Templeman +12.442
7. Christina Orr +14.721
8. Earl Bamber +14.917
9. Marc Doran +16.328
10. Jayint Singh +17.414

Race 2
1. Gaunt 13.08.788
2. Harford +1.464
3. Doran +2.153
4. Orr +2.851
5. Jordan +3.163
6. Clucas +3.638
7. Smith +4.006
8. Singh +4.321
9. Bamber +6.191
10. Johnson +7.140
also
12. Van Gisbergen +21.058

Race 3
1. Clucas 29.32.666
2. Van Gisbergen +1.086
3. Templeman +1.314
4. Knight +2.513
5. Gaunt +3.231
6. Singh +3.722
7. Russ +4.641
8. Smith +5.971
9. Bamber +8.396
10. Doran +9.745


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