Big change of fortune brings victory in Toyota Racing Series
Sunday 2 February 2014
Big change of fortune brings victory in Toyota Racing Series feature race
Estonian race driver Martin Rump ended a run of bad luck with victory in the Toyota Racing Series feature event at Hampton Downs today, while Singaporean Andrew Tang seized a narrow lead in the championship.
Rump led all the way in the 20-lap New Zealand Motor Cup race, claiming an historic trophy that had earlier been won by his compatriot and mentor Sten Pentus.
“It is nice that two people from our little country have won this trophy,” he said.
His previous four races had been unfortunate. In race two at Cromwell he damaged his car by hitting the wall, and could not even start the final heat.
In race one at Hampton Downs yesterday another car pushed him off the track and he lost two laps. That meant he started from the back of the grid for this morning’s race, but he cut his way forward through the pack.
“That was great experience for me, surviving in the battlefield,” he said. “I passed eight cars.
“My main goal is still to gain experience, I’m not worrying about the points. It’s been up and down for everyone, of course – that’s motorsport. Good things happen and bad things happen.”
Tang was second in the Cup race and won the round overall with finishes of second, fourth and second again – but the New Zealand Grand Prix at Manfeild next weekend could be his last race for two years as he has to start his military service, which is compulsory for all men in Singapore.
“I’m not thinking about that now, I’m just focused on this championship and I want to do well for my team, my family and my country,” Tang said.
“I’m really happy where I am in the championship. There’s still three races to go and I’ll do my best.”
He raced in Europe last year but does not know whether he will be able to fit in any competition over the next two years. “There are no circuits in Singapore,” he said. “Japan is probably closest, but that’s eight hours away.”
Dutch driver Steijn Schothorst also overcame a run of bad luck as he won this morning’s race, leading all the way from pole and winning by more than three seconds from Kiwi Damon Leitch.
“I was comfortable in my driving; I was not taking too many risks,” Schothorst said. “Leading is different from following another car; you can think about things and you just drive naturally.”
Going into the three races at Manfeild, Tang leads British driver Jann Mardenborough – who won yesterday’s race – by just 10 points, 610 to 600. Russian Egor Orudzhev, who finished second overall for the round, has 586, Leitch 581 and Rump 552.
Super-veteran Ken Smith, 71, won the feature NZ Formula Ford race, the Ron Frost Memorial Trophy after finishing third in both the preliminary races.
The Aucklander took the lead with a brave-looking move around the outside of Wanganui’s Aaron Marr at the fast turn one.
“That’s a good race to win,” Smith said, adding that he had been determined to score the victory.
“I’m old and I need it more than he does,” he joked.
“It’s a couple of years since my last Formula Ford race, but last weekend at the historic meeting I won all four races in a Swift DB4 Formula Atlantic car.”
Marr and Invercargill driver Jamie Conroy won the other two races, and Conroy retains a big lead in the championship.
Two former TRS contenders, Aucklander Andrew Waite and Wellington’s Jamie McNee, fought out the races for the Toyota Finance TR 86 coupes, Waite winning two to one. McNee leads the championship by 52 points from Christchurch driver Tom Alexander.
Waite has been racing the much more powerful BNT V8 SuperTourers but said he enjoyed the smaller coupes.
“I love it,” he said. “They feel like real race cars, they handle like real race cars.
“It’s great to see how close the field is. It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be.”
Attached photos of Martin Rump are free to use but should be credited to Geoff Ridder.
Issued by MotorSport NZ