Mardenborough Takes the Rookie Championship for ETEC
Mardenborough Takes the Rookie Championship for ETEC as TRS Reaches its Finale at Manfield Park
The final day of the five week Championship saw a glorious day and two fantastic races which were a credit to the talented field and demonstrated the strength and quality of the Toyota Racing Series this year.
With around a second covering the 20 car field the drivers are very well matched and have closed up as the weeks have progressed with ETEC’s 4 rookies becoming ever more competitive.
This is particularly true of Jann Mardenborough who after yesterdays red mist made amends to deliver two great 6th places and cement a great finish in the Championship and take the Rookie Title and tenth position overall. A great performance for the Nissan/PS3 competition winner who had never raced a single seater car until this series began.
Next up was returning Thai driver Tanart Sathienthirakul in 11th overall, closely followed by Columbian lady racer Tatiana Calderon in 12th, Akash Nandy in 14th and 3rd overall in the Rookie chase. Andrew Tang, the Singaporean came on strong at the last rounds and deserved better than his 15th overall and 4th in the Rookie Championship.
To a man (and 1 women) all expressed their enjoyment in participating ( in TRS) and vowed to return again should circumstances dictate, not just for the great racing but the fantastic opportunity to enjoy New Zealand.
Team Boss Trevor Shuemack reflecting on this years campaign said “ We have enjoyed a fantastic bunch of guys this year and it has been a pleasure to work with them all. They have all developed immensely over the weeks and have done a tremendous job against very talented and experienced opposition. I would love to see some of them back and challenging next year for wins and podiums”
The story of the races:
Race 2 – 15 laps
Starting as they finished yesterday some of the ETEC runners had a battle on there hands and some had some opportunities starting higher. The toughest job befell Mardenborough who was starting flat last after his accident yesterday.
Up for the challenge he made steady
progress through the pack taking place after place and
bringing team mate Nandy with him as the pair ran up to 10th
and 11th making some great moves along the way.
Tang was unfortunate to not make the most of his 10th place start and after looking strong clashed in the pack breaking his wing and getting the black flag, forcing a pit visit.
Tatiana was making a real effort to get the result she craved. A great start saw her hold her nerve down the inside into turn 1, taking a host of places and running 8th on the road. It would later transpire that clutch creep had lead to a false start and she would be relegated back, initially to 15th place with the time penalty.
Tanart ran quietly whilst other battled around to a safe 12th place at the line.
Afterwards, a host of drivers were to receive penalties for safety car and racing standards infringements and ETEC were promoted up the results.
So the record books will show 6th for Mardenborough, a fantastic 7th for Nandy, 11th for Tatiana and 12th for Tanart. ETECs biggest single race points haul for the season thus far.
Race 3 – The New Zealand Grand Prix – 35 laps
Outside of the Formula 1 World Championship there are only a handful of countries who can boast an official Grand Prix, and New Zealand is one of them. So for the field it was an opportunity to experience a longer race and the ceremony of such an event.
Once the photo shoots and anthems had died down the drivers soon refocused on the business of racing and were out to make a mark in the final round.
Mardenborough starting from 8th made a great start and was 6th at the first corner and was hard on the tail of Pipo Dorani for 5th, behind, Calderon, looking very aggressive put two wheels on the grass in the squeeze and kept her foot in, giving no quarter to move up from 18th to 12th at the conclusion of the first lap and settled into a mighty tussle with Tanart and Tang.
Nandy was making his usual progress through from the back. If only this lad could qualify as well as he can race!
Lap 4 and the first of what would prove to be 3 safety car periods. Nandy spun into the gravel, eventually rejoining to run a lap down at the rear of the pack where he would enjoy the dice although effectively his race was run.
At the restart Jann loses out to Seralles but gets him back a lap later and Tatiana, passes Leich to close on Seralles. Behind Tang and Tanart ran in close proximity. It was very fraught in the midfield.
Tatiana was flying. Some late adjustments to her car saw her recent handling issues resolved and she closed and passed Seralles and was chasing down Jann when the 2nd safety car appeared to recover the spinning Scott.
The momentum was lost for her (Calderon) and at the restart Seralles took back the place and stretched a small gap. Ahead 4th to 7th were running in a bunch and it looked like Jann in 7th would make ground as he passed Auer for 6th.
ETEC were running 6th, 9th 11th and 12th. and really gaining confidence. Then the 3rd safety car for Scott again spinning in a dangerous position.
A four lap sprint to the flag would see Jann repassed by Auer and Tatiana put a move on Seralles once more. This time the Columbian was pushed wide and her valor lost her 3 places in the tightly bunched pack.
At the flag a great 7th for Mardenborough and the rookie title, another 10th for Tang and 13th and 14th for Tatiana and Tanart (who was decidedly unimpressed with his performance afterwards despite racing hard). Nandy came home 18th and a lap down.