Its getting better and better for ETEC
Its Getting Better And Better For ETEC As Calderon, Nandy Join The Front Runners
Rookies only stay rookies for a short time and ETEC’s young chargers are learning fast and in the Toyota Racing Series round 8, the championships mid point they delivered on the promise that has been building over the previous races.
As Mardenborough languished in the pits with a gearbox problem and Tang coasting to a halt on the formation lap things were not looking good for the team but the troubles for these guys were not the concerns of Tatiana Calderon and Akash Nandy who were determined to put in a result.
Starting 6th and 10th, both benefitted from the absent Mardenborough who was forced to start from the pit lane and into the first corner both made use of the gap on the grid where the Brit should have been to run 5th and 6th after the first corner, dealing with the pressure and avoiding contact with yesterdays spinning race winner Alex Lynn.
The pace was as hot as the weather and Tatiana hooked onto the back of Auer and reigning champion Cassidy and was making her presence felt. It was clear from the move she put onto Auer on lap 2 that she can mix it at the front.
Auer defended, Tatiana got alongside and a great exit from T1 saw her look like the place was hers, but Auer showed why he is going to drive for one of the best teams in European F3 this year and fought hard to keep the Columbian at bay.
Switching tact, Auer and Calderon worked hard on catching Cassidy who was looking like a target for 3rd place and the pair were soon on his tail.
Behind, Nandy was heading a three car train of Leitch and Olson, Leitch finding the pace of the young Malaysian too hot and running off on the grass into the final chicane giving breathing space to the pair in front.
Olson closed on Nandy but knowing that the Norwegian had a jump start penalty Akash timed his defense and let him pass to avoid trouble knowing that following him home would net 6th and his best result yet.
Tatiana hassled and hurried the champion Cassidy to the flag but 5th was where she finished, a few tenths back from her first TRS podium.
Mardenborough, nursing a broken gearbox had passed Tanart and came home 12th having started from the pits whilst the Thai had a race to forget coming in a distant 13th.
From the highs of race 1 the reminder that racing is a fickle business as the results of Saturdays disappointing qualifying saw the best ETEC starter in 8th with Jann (now with new gearbox and differential). Tatiana lined up 10th and the Asian trio making up the places towards the rear.
At the start ETEC’s two highest starters both were penalized for a jump start whilst in the first bit of positive news saw Tang move up into 12th. Nandy’s great race 2 result was suddenly a memory when a clash with a recovering Lucas Auer saw the Malaysian spin into last place.
Tatiana made her move of Mardenborough, the Brit defending hard with an evil handling car and the result was an off for the Colombian, recovering to resume in 13th and pulling up immediately onto the back of the group that Jann was holding up.
In the melee, Tanart spun with Calderon again the victim taking to the gravel in avoidance, the pair rejoining but at the back of the group.
At the flag, Jann crossed the line 9th, Tang a creditable 11th, Tanart 13th, Calderon 14th and Nandy 16th. After the penalty shuffle Tang was promoted to his first top ten finish and ETEC’s highest placed driver.
After a weekend of highs and low’s all the drivers have something positive to reflect on and will be increasing their determination to move up when the series moves onto its penultimate weekend and rounds 10/11/12 of the TRS at Hampton Down Racetrack on the outskirts of Auckland.