Saturday, Jan 13 12:49pm
AUTHOR: Matthew Hansen

Russian debutant sweeps Ruapuna TRS qualifying, Armstrong quickest Kiwi

Russian Castrol Toyota Racing Series debutant Robert Shwartzman has claimed pole position for races one and three of the category's series opener at Mike Pero Motorsport Park. 


On a greasy surface with misty rain coming and going, Shwartzman was able to convert his testing pace earlier in the week into dual poles by virtue of a 1:22.068 in qualifying one, and a 1:18.372 in session two as conditions improved.


Both sessions were relatively uneventful, apart from a red flag in the first session. Kiwis Ryan Yardley and Marcus Armstrong also had minor offs of their own — Armstrong's coming at high speed on the run to six. 


Richard Verschoor, Clement Novalak, Armstrong and James Pull round out the top five for race one's qualifying order, while race three's top five is completed by Armstrong, Verschoor, Pull, and Novalak. Race two's order is decided by the finishing order of race one later today. 


Armstrong's results see him lead the Kiwi charge, 12 months after he claimed his first win in the series at the same Christchurch venue. 


Brendon Leitch is the next best of the local contingent, qualifying sixth for both races. On debut Reid Harker managed to qualify seventh for race one. Taylor Cockerton also cracked the top 10, qualifying 10th in both sessions. Ryan Yardley narrowly missed out on a top-10 berth, ending the two sessions in 11th and 12th respectively.