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Spectacular Crash Eliminates Top Driver

Media Release

Sunday 13 January 2013

Spectacular Crash Eliminates Top Driver

Felix Serralles survived a collision to seize the lead in the Toyota Racing Series at Invercargill’s Teretonga circuit today.

English driver Alex Lynn was not so lucky – the collision sent him flying through the air, landing upside-down and rolling. He escaped without injury.

The incident happened when Serralles, from Puerto Rico, led the feature race from a restart following a safety-car period.

Lynn was right in his slipstream and then pulled out to pass on the outside going into the very fast Loop corner at the end of the main straight, doing about 200kmh.

The English driver was slightly ahead but the two cars touched wheels on the entry to the corner and Lynn was launched into his big crash.

The two drivers should be well aware of each other’s driving styles as they were both front-runners in the important British Formula 3 championship last year, Serralles finishing third and Lynn fourth.

Earlier in the day Lynn had lamented that it was difficult to pass on the southern circuit, with all the leading drivers being very close in their lap times.

“There’s not a straight long enough to get a good tow [slipstream] and overtake,” he said.

Serralles carried on to win the race and ended the opening round of the series five points ahead of Austrian Lucas Auer, who was second.

Auer had won Saturday’s opening heat and Brazilian Pipo Derani took race two this morning, with Serralles second and Lynn third. Another Brazilian driver, Bruno Bonifacio, crossed the line third but a time penalty for jumping the start demoted him to seventh.

Auer benefits from advice from a well-qualified source – his uncle, Gerhard Berger, won Formula One GPs during his career with Ferrari and McLaren.

“If I have a problem I can ask him but mostly it’s me and my mother,” Auer said.

Aucklander Nick Cassidy, the defending champion, started the weekend with a second and a fourth but had to start the main race from 16th on the grid because of tyre problems in qualifying. He passed several drivers to finish eighth.

In race two Cassidy had been running third but Lynn managed to overtake him.

“Derani slowed on the exit to turn one so I slowed and he [Lynn] got me,” the Kiwi explained.

Australian V8 Supercar driver Jason Bargwanna leads the NZV8 TLX championship by one point from young Hamiltonian Martin Short, both driving new-generation cars which proved much faster than the original NZV8s.

Short made history yesterday when he won in his Toyota Camry – the first win in Australasian V8 touring car championships for any type of car that is not a Ford Falcon or Holden Commodore.

But today Bargwanna won both races comfortably from Short and the Aussie was particularly impressive in the main race, when the new-generation cars started behind the older ones. Diving through the traffic, Bargwanna had a lead of five seconds after only half a dozen laps.

“That was my strategy – to push hard in the early laps and use my experience in passing those cars,” he said.

Turua’s Lauder brothers dominated the NZV8s TL Championship, with Brad taking his inaugural NZV8 race win in race two this morning and AJ taking his second race win of the weekend in race three.

AJ now leads the championship from another newcomer to the category Shaun Varney and local driver Grant Molloy.

Close racing in Formula Ford produced three different winners, Christchurch drivers James Munro and Michael Collins, and local man Brendon Leitch. Collins and Leitch are tied for the lead in the championship.

Australian Steve Zammit finished the meeting in the lead of the Super Trucks championship in spite of coming only fourth in race one, where a collision had sent him off the track. He charged back to win the other two heats in his Kenworth.

MSNZ Race Championship calendar:

Round 1: January 12-13, Teretonga (Invercargill)

Round 2: January 19-20, Timaru

TRS: January 26-27, Taupo

TRS: February 2-3, Hampton Downs

Round 3: February 9-10, Manfeild

Round 4: March 9-10, Taupo

Round 5: April 12-14, Pukekohe (V8 Supercars meeting)

Felix Serralles leading the charge at Teretonga

Credit: Euan Cameron.


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