Jordan King Jordan King CREDIT: Bruce Jenkins for TRS

British driver King of the Hill in Toyota Racing Series testing at Timaru

Saturday 21 January 2012, 7:14AM
By Mark Baker


Rising stars fill out the timesheets in final test for Timaru TRS round

British racer Jordan King shot to the top of the timesheets with just two laps remaining in this afternoon’s final test session for the Toyota Racing Series at Timaru’s Levels Raceway.

A week after racing in rain and hailstorms at Invercargill’s Teretonga Park Raceway, the TRS drivers and teams have tested over two sweltering days at Levels in temperatures that tipped into the 30s in the afternoon.

In familiarisation test sessions on Wednesday, the fastest times were set by Nick Cassidy and young Austrian driver Lucas Auer. One of the Wednesday sessions was shortened when French driver Victor Sendin crashed near the pit entrance after another car braked heavily in front of him.

In the two official test sessions today, the early pace was set by Dutch racer Hannes van Asseldonk, whose best time in the first session was a 57.761 set mid-session. The race lap record at Timaru is 57.977, set by two-times TRS champion Mitch Evans in 2010.

Auer was second fastest, just .1 of a second behind the Dutch driver with a best lap on 57.861. Brazil’s Bruno Bonifacio was third, the only other driver to break into the 57 second bracket, on 57.885.

In today’s second and final session, ambient air temperatures had soared to 31 degrees Celsius and grip was at a premium. The early pace was set by a determined Raffaele Marciello, who set a 58.903 and backed it with a 58.738. his time was toppled by Lucas Auer, who set a 58.588 and was promptly bettered by championship leader Damon Leitch with a 57.578.

Leitch found himself unable to better him time as the session went on, and was bumped down the order by an improving Marciello, Hannes van Asseldonk, Nick Cassidy and Lucas Auer.

The session was interrupted when Dmitry Suranovich went off, the young Russian managing to avoid the tyre walls but unable to get his car out of the gravel traps. When the car had been lifted out and the session resumed, Hannes van Asseldonk was quickly on the pace with a 58.291. He too was unable to improve on his time in the closing minutes.

It was the two British Racing drivers Club Rising Star drivers who starred in the closing laps: King posted a 58.458; Hill a 58.539 as they homed in on the top of the timesheet behind van Asseldonk and Nathanael Berthon. Then the two British drivers pushed through into the top two spots, King securing fastest time of 58.167 on lap 13. Hill took P2 with a 58.202 three laps later as the session came to an end.

The Toyota Racing Series cars are back on the track tomorrow morning for qualifying, 20 minutes of track time at 11.56 am. That session decides the grid for the first race of round two, over 12 laps, at 3:50 pm tomorrow afternoon.

The feature race of the weekend, the 20 lap Timaru Herald Trophy, will be held at 11.12 am on Sunday morning. The final race of the weekend is over 12 laps and will be held at 3:21 pm Sunday afternoon.