Tom Alexander (#11) and Jack Milligan (#17) took wins in the first races of the 2017-2018 Toyota 86 Championship yesterday at Pukekohe


In unpredictable weather two masters of the Toyota 86 Championship are showing their form: Jack Milligan and Tom Alexander have each won a race and are locked in battle for dominance.

Jack Milligan was the class of the morning’s 12 lap race, heading home pole man Connor Adam to be the first championship leader of the series.

Third was Tom Alexander, the 2015 Toyota 86 Champion. There were close calls and incidents for several competitors. Reid Harker slid wide over the Pukekohe ‘mountain’ and gathered his car up but went straight through a trackside advertising board.

“I expected the thing to smash but it stayed in one piece and was blocking the whole radiator aperture. The engine temperature shot right off the dial,” he said afterward.

With the hoarding removed, Harker recovered to be fifth.

The youngest racer in the championship, Sam Wright, spun off the track and damaged the rear suspension of the Tony Richards Toyota car.

Australian Cameron Hill posted fastest lap, a 1:18.640, on his second lap.

The in the partial-reversed grid this afternoon, it was Tom Alexander’s turn to swarm through to the lead in light rain. Alexander survived a close moment when Cameron Hill, who had been second at the start, speared off the circuit and then re-crossed it at high speed.

“I never saw it coming, it was just a zip! Across my line of sight and gone. Pretty scary,” he said.

Australian Dylan Gulson went off sideways at Railway Corner, denting his car but recovering to finish 12th.

As the race wound down toward its end, Jack Milligan hung on to the flying Alexander, and Jordan Baldwin took his first Toyota series podium, coming home third.

“That was a great race, I had to really commit in the rain and the car felt great. The plan for tomorrow is to finish in front of Jack and lead the championship. Sounds easy doesn’t it!”

Results, race one, top ten:
1. Jack Milligan
2. Connor Adam
3. Tom Alexander
4. Ben MacDonald
5. Reid Harker
6. Bramwell King
7. Callum Quin
8. Jordan Baldwin
9. Cameron Hill (AUS)
10 Michael Scott

Results, race two, top ten:
1. Tom Alexander
2. Jack Milligan
3. Jordan Baldwin
4. Cameron Hill [AUS]
5. Bramwell King
6. Reid Harker
7. Jaden Ransley
8. Ben MacDonald
9. Connor Adam
10. Callum Quin

Dry-wet qualifying revs up Toyota 86 Championship

New names and returnees share pole for two of the weekend’s three races as the 2017-2018 Toyota 86 Championship kicks off this weekend.
Aucklander Connor Adam is part of a two-car lockout of the front row for race one tomorrow at Pukekohe; his team-mate Michael Scott is alongside and edged out of pole by just 0.0630 seconds.
The second qualifying session began in the dry but as light drizzle fell CareVets scholarship racer Bramwell King took pole in treacherous going with returning champion Tom Alexander alongside him. The margin between the two was 0.749 seconds.
Adam said scoring the first pole of the championship was ‘sensational’.
“Super happy we could pull it off in the dry. Unfortunately the car was a bit of a demon in the rain for our second qualy and we ended up 12th. Can’t wait for the first race tomorrow. Massive thanks to everyone who have got us here this weekend.
King, meanwhile, was similarly excited to have scored pole for the third race of the weekend.
“I’m stoked to have put the car together for a wet Q2 and banked pole. Q1 saw dry conditions and we had small struggles, landing us p8 for race one. Head down, eyes forward for race one and two tomorrow to make some places up.”
The light rain and limited grip caused problems for some. Jordan Baldwin slid off the track in the wet conditions and softly hit a tyre wall but was able to continue to complete the session. Australian Dylan Gulson survived a scary slide off onto the grass at the crest of Pukekohe’s ‘mountain and regained the track undamaged.
Gulson qualified 11th in the first session and eighth in the second; his countryman Cameron Hill was fifth and fourth.
There are two races for the championship on Saturday 4 November at 10.45 am and 3.00 pm; the final race of the weekend is at 1.20 pm on Sunday 5 November.

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For further information please contact:
Steve Boyce, Toyota New Zealand Motorsport Manager,
Phone (06) 350 3455 or 0292 442 754 or email steve.boyce@toyota.co.nz