Jack Millgan wins the 2017–’18 Toyota 86 Championship

Christchurch driver Jack Milligan has claimed the 2018 Toyota 86 Championship prize, after finishing third in the final race of the season behind Jacob Smith and race winner Tom Alexander. 


It's just reward for Milligan, after he gained his spot in last year's series thanks to winning the CareVets Scholarship. He then earned the Rookie of the Year prize, before becoming the driver to beat throughout the season. 


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Novus driver Jordan Baldwin won the start from the front row, leading Milligan, Jacob Smith, Tom Alexander, Conor Adam, and the rest of the angry pack on the opening lap. 


The leading cars soon segmented, with a three-car dice for second emerging. Things heated up on lap two as they approached turn four; Milligan, Alexander, and Smith running three wide. 


Milligan lost out, but with lead championship rival Michael Scott spinning at the back of the field a corner later, he could afford to let the other drivers fight with one another. 


The battle then swallowed up Baldwin on lap three; Alexander scooping up first place and Smith second. A few laps later, Millligan passed Baldwin as well. 


True to championship form, Milligan became the driver among the leaders to watch. A deep turn-one dive saw him steal second place away from Smith on lap seven. And he then set off after Alexander — bringing Smith with him. 


Milligan started truly pushing Alexander on lap nine, diving at turn five unsuccessfully. He then tried to net a pass around the outside at turn one at the start of the following lap, to no avail. This brought Smith closer, and he and Milligan made contact exiting turn four — without losing time to Alexander. 


Alexander's defence was commendable, and it had gotten to the point that Baldwin and Adam had closed back in on the trio. But despite new players entering the game, the main position under threat was still P1. 


It came down to the final lap. Smith dived on the outside of Milligan at turn four only to run wide and lose third to Baldwin as a result. Milligan remained pinned to the back of Alexander for the rest of the lap; and ultimately he finished second — a mere 0.179 behind Alexander. 


Baldwin, Smith, and Adam rounded out the top five, while Bramwell King, Brock Gilchrist, Broc Fenney, Ben MacDonald, and Matt Griffin rounded out the top 10.