Red Bull Junior driver Liam Lawson has been handed victory in Race 1 of the Castrol Toyota Racing Series at Highlands Motorsport Park.
Renault Sport Academy driver Caio Collet of Brazil initially held off a spirited last lap charge from Lawson to win the opening race of the season.
However, he was later handed a five-second post-race penalty for a practice start infringement. As a result, the MTEC Motorsport by R-ace GP driver was demoted to seventh overall.
The penalty to Collet gave Lirim Zendeli a free kick, earning a podium on his Toyota Racing Series debut with M2 Competition.
The alleged rule breach pertained to Article 16 of the 20202 MSNZ Castrol Toyota Racing Series Articles relating to Practice Starts.
A MotorSport New Zealand statement read: “As a result of a post-race inquiry, an investigation was carried out as to whether you completed a practice start at the commencement of Race 1.
“It was confirmed by the Driving Standards Observer who reviewed on-board video that you completed two practice starts at the conclusion of the formation lap between turns 12 and 13, by significantly reducing speed and the accelerating rapidly causing traction to be lost at the driving wheels.
“This is in breach of the 2020 MSNZ Castrol Toyota Racing Series Articles.”
Penalty 39.33 was applied, which resulted in a five seconds being added to Collet’s time and two demerit points.
In a somewhat ironic repeat of history, it’s the second time MTEC Motorsport have been stripped of their first win. Taylor Cockerton won at Mike Pero Motorsport Park in 2017 but was later given a post-race penalty, depriving him and the team of their first series win.