Castrol Toyota Racing Series leader Liam Lawson has secured pole position for the Dorothy Smith Memorial Trophy race at Highlands Motorsport Park.
Lawson clocked a 1:27.375 around the 22-turn circuit, setting a new outright lap record for the series at the Cromwell facility.
The M2 Competition pilot edged out Caio Collet of MTEC Motorsport by R-ace GP in the 15-minute session. Just 0.026s split them at the end of Qualifying.
At one point Collet was in the lead by the slimmest of margins, just 0.003s between them. However, it was a last-lap effort from Lawson that earned him the top spot.
Franco Colapinto was a surprise performer in third, setting his quickest personal best time of the weekend on a 1:27.644, two and a half tenths adrift of the lead. The leading Kiwi Motorsport driver from Argentina found speed courtesy of a significant setup adjustment.
Igor Fraga was once again on the pace with the fourth fastest time. Gregoire Saucy replicated his Saturday efforts with the fifth fastest time in the leading Giles Motorsport entry.
Yuki Tsunoda was the same, setting a time to put him sixth overall, albeit eight tenths off the fastest time by his teammate.
Lirim Zendeli was seventh in the order. He looked quick early on, but an off-road excursion through the gravel at the Reverse Indy hairpin saw any late heroics kiboshed.
Ido Cohen was impressive in the season opener coming from 17th to 10th and fortunately qualified highly for the final race. He’ll start eighth ahead of Petr Ptacek and Oliver Rasmussen.
The only other New Zealander in the field, Chelsea Herbert, was 19th and last for Giles Motorsport, 3.9 seconds away from the top spot.
The session ran without much in the way of incidents. Rui Andrade spun at the same hairpin that Zendeli’s went off at in what was an otherwise clean session for the field.
Race 2 of the Castrol Toyota Racing Series gets underway at 12:10 pm and will be followed by the 20-lap Dorothy Smith Memorial Trophy feature race at 4:20 pm local time.