Home Formula RegionalFRegional Oceania Nick Cassidy secures the title, wins the New Zealand Grand Prix

Nick Cassidy secures the title, wins the New Zealand Grand Prix

by Valentin Khorounzhiy

Photo: Toyota Racing Series

Kiwi youngster Nick Cassidy became the Toyota Racing Series champion for a second consecutive time after closest rival Lucas Auer was hit with a penalty after the second race at Manfeild, before going on to win the final race of the season.

Auer was penalised 50 seconds after stewards judged he had forced Steijn Schothorst off track – a move for which he was initially given a bad sportsmanship flag. According to Speedcafe.co.nz, someone linked to the M2 team that both Schothorst and Cassidy drive for asked that the incident was further investigated. The penalty stripped Auer of his win and demoted him to 14th, which made it mathematically impossible for him to challenge the champion. Auer’s Giles Motorsport teammates Felix Serralles and Pipo Derani were also penalised after finishing second and fourth, allowing Bruno Bonifacio to inherit the victory ahead of Cassidy and Ignazio D’Agosto.

Starting on the front row for the third race at Manfeild (also referred to as the New Zealand Grand Prix, 35 laps in length), Cassidy made immediate progress by taking the lead from polesitter Alex Lynn right away. He had to stay on his toes for most of the race, as he could never quite pull away from Lynn and others while Auer was making a great recovery drive, taking fifth at one time in the race while having started in 13th. However,? with 35 laps done and dusted, Cassidy crossed the line as the winner of the 58th New Zealand Grand Prix and a two-time Toyota Racing Series champion.

Lynn and Schothorst (who took his first TRS victory earlier this weekend) completed the podium, with the Brazilian duo of Derani and Bonifacio finishing right behind (Bonifacio inheriting his second win of the season after Auer’s penalty). The Austrian crossed the line in sixth, ahead of Jann Mardenborough and D’Agosto. Serralles and Andrew Tang completed the top ten. The race, despite being much longer than the previous two outings of the weekend, only saw one retirement, as Dennis Olsen went off-track at lap 16.

Lynn’s second-place finish combined with Auer’s post-race penalty allowed the Brit to take second in the standings at the end of the year.

Race 3 resuls
Pos Driver Team Time/Gap Laps
1 Nick Cassidy M2 Competition 43m03.743s 35
2 Alex Lynn M2 Competition +0.711s 35
3 Steijn Schothorst M2 Competition +2.371s 35
4 Pipo Derani Giles Motorsport +3.148s 35
5 Bruno Bonifacio Giles Motorsport +4.877s 35
6 Lucas Auer Giles Motorsport +5.232s 35
7 Jann Mardenborough ETEC Motorsport +5.497s 35
8 Ignazio D’Agosto Victory Motor Racing +5.995s 35
9 Felix Serralles Giles Motorsport +8.248s 35
10 Andrew Tang ETEC Motorsport +8.569s 35
11 Damon Leitch Victory Motor Racing +9.332s 35
12 Nicholas Latifi Giles Motorsport +10.548s 35
13 Tatiana Calderon ETEC Motorsport +10.829s 35
14 Tanart Satienthirakul ETEC Motorsport +11.890s 35
15 Michael Scott Victory Motor Racing +12.493s 35
16 Ken Smith Giles Motorsport +17.070s 35
17 Pieter Schothorst M2 Competition +1 lap 34
18 Akash Nandy ETEC Motorsport +2 laps 33
19 Spike Goddard M2 Competition +2 laps 33
DNF Dennis Olsen M2 Competition +20 laps 15
Championship standings
Pos Driver Team Pts
1 Nick Cassidy M2 Competition 915
2 Alex Lynn M2 Competition 803
3 Lucas Auer Giles Motorsport 797
4 Steijn Schothorst M2 Competition 754
5 Bruno Bonifacio Giles Motorsport 650
6 Felix Serralles Giles Motorsport 646
7 Pipo Derani Giles Motorsport 625
8 Damon Leitch Victory Motor Racing 588
9 Nicholas Latifi Giles Motorsport 503
10 Jann Mardenborough ETEC Motorsport 491
11 Tanart Satienthirakul ETEC Motorsport 462
12 Tatiana Calderon ETEC Motorsport 432
13 Dennis Olsen M2 Competition 410
14 Akash Nandy ETEC Motorsport 361
15 Andrew Tang ETEC Motorsport 345
16 Michael Scott Victory Motor Racing 315
17 Spike Goddard M2 Competition 262
18 Mitch Evans* Giles Motorsport 204
19 Ignazio D’Agosto* Victory Motor Racing 181
20 Ryan Cullen* M2 Competition 122
21 Pieter Schothorst* M2 Competition 67
22 Ken Smith* Giles Motorsport 64

* denotes part-time campaign