Justin Allen has held off a late charge from William Exton to win a thrilling Toyota 86 Championship race at Manfeild. Exton overturned a 2.5-second gap to hunt down the leader but ultimately ran out of laps to complete a move, falling just 0.236 seconds short of victory.
Tom Bewley completed a remarkable drive from tenth on the grid to secure the final podium place, his drive highlighted by a fighting second lap where he gained five positions to move to fifth.
Allen started well from pole, taking the lead through Lap 1 over Lockie Bloxsom and Saxon Sheehan, who got a flying launch from the second row to slot into third and challenge the two leaders over the early phases. Harry Townshend followed through in fourth at the end of Lap 1, ahead of Exton, Hunter Robb, Jackson Rooney, Cormac Murphy, Alice Buckley and Bewley.
Up front, Allen began to pull a small gap as several fierce battles unfolded behind, with Exton moving up to fourth on Lap 2 and Bewley gaining five places in a charge from tenth to fifth.
Sheehan and Exton worked past Bloxsom on Lap 3 to fall into second and third, respectively.
Bewley followed suit a lap later as Murphy and Buckley made ground further back, the duo exchanging places in the top ten.
Exton and Sheehan were locked in a duel for second, with the former taking the position on Lap 5. Bewley briefly followed through, but Sheehan responded well, reclaiming the position.
Sheehan’s luck ran out on Lap 6 when he was hung out wide at the exit of Turn 5, with Bewley moving into the podium places and Robb and Rooney following through.
Murphy found trouble a lap later, running off and dropping out of the top ten. By this point, Allen’s advantage had extended to 2.5 seconds, but now, in clear air, Exton began to eat into this, taking half a second off over the following circuit.
Bewley was under immense pressure from Robb and was forced to defend over several laps to retain his podium position, as was Bloxsom, who had dropped to seventh and faced increasing pressure from Buckley.
Saturday’s race winner, John Penny, also began to move forward and was in the midst of the battle pack, behind Buckley, but picked up damage that saw him fall off the pace.
Harry Townshend, Hayden Bakkerus, Tayler Bryant, Christina Orr-West and Brooklyn Horan also joined the fight for top ten positions, gaining a place as Penny dropped out of the top ten.
Up front, Exton had reduced the gap to the leader to 1.15 seconds with three laps to run, with Bewley having dropped over a second behind as he held off Robb.
With two laps to run, Allen’s advantage was less than a second, and entering the final circuit was 0.462 seconds. However, Allen’s impressive early pace was enough for him to hold on to the victory, with Exton finishing 0.236 seconds behind and Bewley a further 1.204 back in third.
Robb’s mid-race pace would ultimately diminish, and he held off a late challenge from Rooney for fourth, while Sheehan’s impressive performance was rewarded with a commendable sixth.
Buckley also performed well under pressure for seventh, ahead of Bloxsom and Townshend. Bakkerus and Bryant crossed the line side-by-side, with the former taking a slender 0.019-second advantage to complete the top ten.
Penny found drama on the final lap, coming together with Summer Rintoule, both cars running off and eventually coming home 22nd and 23rd, respectively.
The Toyota 86 Championship returns for a final race at Manfeild, which begins at 2.10 pm and will be shown live on Sky Sport 5.
Toyota 86 Championship Race 2 Results- Manfeild
Header Image: Toyota Gazoo Racing (Bruce Jenkins)