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Munro and Bamber top TRS timesheets at Timaru

29 February 2008

Munro and Bamber top TRS timesheets at Timaru

Stage set for fierce battle at Timaru

A newcomer to the 2008 Toyota Racing Series, Mark Munro, scored a psychological advantage in the first testing session at Timaru”s Levels race track today.

Munro, who has entered the series every year since its inception, put in a 59.577 time on the last lap of the first session ahead of series leader Andy Knight and Palmerston North driver Sam Macneill.

Six drivers were able to go under the one minute lap time in the morning session.

Munro was unable to repeat his time in the second session, held in warmer conditions this afternoon. Once again, six drivers broke through the one minute barrier on the 2.4 kilometre track, but this time it was Wanganui’s Earl Bamber who was fastest with a 59.546, leading Knight on 59.741 – Knight unable to improve on his time from the morning session.

Sam MacNeill was third on 59.671, while Munro was seventh on 1:00.009.

Wellington driver Ben Harford, third son points for the series, was sixth fastest in the morning session on 59.955 and improved on that with fourth fastest in the afternoon on 59.837.

As the series heads into its penultimate round this weekend at Timaru, Andy Knight must defend a championship lead of just 13 points. Knight, who won the first round of the series and has since added the New Zealand Grand Prix title to his trophy cabinet, saw his lead grow and then shrink at the fifth round when he spun out of the feature race, the Dan Higgins Trophy.

There are three races for the Toyota Racing Series this weekend at Timaru, starting with a pair of 16 lap sprints, one on Saturday afternoon and one on Sunday morning. The feature race at Timaru is the Timaru Herald Trophy, held over 20 laps on Sunday.

Another 20 lap feature race follows a week later at Teretonga, where a champion will be named. With 75 points available for each of three races at these two rounds and 225 on offer over the course of a weekend Knight can not assume his lead in the Championship is safe. He must make the most of every qualifying session and every race start.


Knight says as always, the all-too-brief qualifying sessions will be the key.

“If you get pole and know what you are doing you should be able to go on and win.”

This year's Toyota Racing Series has attracted some of the sport's rising stars with 23 high quality entries across the first five rounds. Series front-runners Knight, Harford and Bamber are all prime examples of the Championship's invaluable role: to identify and nurture New Zealand's rising international racing talent.

Now in its fourth season as New Zealand's premier single-seater category, the 2008 Toyota Racing Series TRS has gone "green" this year with a switch to E85 ethanol biofuel. It is the first category in New Zealand motorsport to do so, and this year's series has included the first bio-fuelled Grand Prix in the global history of motorsport – a race won by Andy Knight, the current series leader.

© Scoop Media

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