Ritchie Stanaway Ritchie Stanaway CREDIT: Lee Howell
Hamilton 400, the start of the Toyota Racing Series race and a closer shot of today's race Hamilton 400, the start of the Toyota Racing Series race and a closer shot of today's race CREDIT: Lee Howell

Stanaway wins on debut

Saturday 18 April 2009, 5:17PM
By Toyota Racing Series


Two pole positions, one race win, one lap record to TRS rookie.

Tauranga student Ritchie Stanaway has won on his Toyota Racing Series debut in a dominant flag to flag performance that left the field stretched out behind him.

In his first ever Toyota Racing Series drive, 2009 Formula Ford champion Richie Stanaway made sure of his first race start and was only challenged at turn one on the first lap when 2009 Toyota Racing Series Champion Mitch Cunningham sledged into the rear of his car.

The opening stage of the race saw much of the on-track action. Andrew Waite, another Formula Ford graduate who had raced some of the 2008-2009 series, stopped on the warm-up lap for the race and was towed off the circuit.

At the race start Stefan Webling stopped on the grid and the race was red flagged as the cars emerged from turn 3.

Jamie MacNee had spun in that corner in one of the Toyota Lites cars.

At the restart, Michael Burdett stepped out of the si8ngle-file line as the cars headed toward turn 1, Cunnunghalm locked in behind Stanaway, and at the turn Cunningham locked his brakes and hit Stanaway.

Behind them Alastair Wootten hit Sam MacNeill in similar circumstances, both drivers spinning into the run-off area as the field flew past into the second straight. MacNeill headed for the pits with a broken front wing.

Tauranga driver Stanaway emerged the leader at the end of the first lap with Michael Burdett close behind but losing touch, Daynom Templeman third.

Veteran driver Ken Smith was fifth in the Exide car, with Australian Nathan Antunes challenging for the place.

A tyre lockup from Burdett at turn 7 gave Stanaway some space and he began to pull away. Antunes got past Smith and a lap later cleanly overtook Templeman, moving into third place.

John Whelan and Daniel Jilesen went side by side through turn 7 and both overtook Smith.

Meanwhile Stanaway had set his mark on the race, extending his lead from 1.5 seconds to 2.7 seconds by lap 7.

Two laps later the lead was out to four seconds, with the gap between Stanaway in first place and Templeman in fourth stretching out toward nine seconds.

As Stanaway took the chequered flag his winning margin over Burdett was 5.2 seconds. He set a new TRS and outright lap record for the Hamilton track of 1:23.0229 on lap 10 of 12.

Posting lap average speeds of 146 km/h in qualifying and 147 km/h in today’s race, the biofuel-powered Toyota cars are the fastest category at the Hamilton 400.