Kiwi Motorsport driver Franco Colapinto has claimed his first Castrol Toyota Racing Series win at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park.
It was an even start between the top two starters, Oliver Rasmussen – who earned pole position courtesy of a reverse grid top six marble draw – and Colapinto. However, it was Colapinto who got the holeshot.
Further behind there was nearly drama. Lawson got a good getaway from fifth on the grid. Immediately ahead of him was Caio Collet who was slow and got sideways in the second phase of the start. That forced Lawson onto the grass, but he managed to squeeze down the inside into Turn 1.
After what was a horror start having fallen rearward, it got worse for Collet who went wide out of Turn 1 after contact with another car. The Renault Sport Academy ace went off onto the grass.
Colapinto held the advantage over Rasmussen and Lawson who wasn’t far away in third place. In a distant fourth was Yuki Tsunoda who had pressure from Igor Fraga pilled on.
The battle for the lead was close and soon enough that brought Tsunoda and Fraga back into contention in the early stages of the race. By Lap 5 it was just 1.7 seconds that covered the top five. That soon turned into a six-way battle after Petr Ptacek set the fastest lap of the race.
Collet on recovery forced Lirim Zendeli into a mistake on Lap 9. With a compromised line, Zendeli got onto the grass run-off and that allowed Collet to execute an easy pass.
Drama on Lap 10 saw Kiwi Motorsport driver Axel Gnos make wheel-to-wheel contact with Tijmen van der Helm at the Dipper. Gnos got up into the air but avoided having another rollover like the one he suffered in Friday practice.
With his car recovered, the race restarted with just four laps to go. Colapinto was quick away but it was Lawson who made the most of the restart to snag second from Rasmussen around the outside of Turn 1. Further afield, Tsunoda managed to see off an attack from Fraga.
The final laps of the race saw Lawson bring the gap down to Colapinto, but the driver from Argentina managed to hold on and claim his first win.
Lawson was second with Rasmussen third. Tsunoda was fourth and Fraga fifth. Petr Ptacek, Caio Collet, Lirim Zendeli, Gregoire Saucy and Jackson Walls completed the top 10.
Race 3 of the Castrol Toyota Racing Series gets underway at 3:15 pm local time for the Denny Hulme Memorial Trophy.