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Mansell to start Denny Hulme Trophy race from the front

Australia’s Christian Mansell proved his outright pace once again as he raced to a second pole position of the weekend at the Taupo Motorsport Park, this time for Sunday’s Denny Hulme Memorial Trophy feature race at the first round of the Castrol Toyota FR Oceania Championship.

Conditions were almost perfect for the 17 drivers and Mansell put in the perfect performance heading to the top of the timesheets in the second half of the 15 minute session, where he stayed and eventually clocked a 1 minute 23.889 second lap, good enough for pole position by more than a third of a second.

“It was a great lap and the car felt very fast throughout the session,” he said afterwards. “I managed to get the lap in just when the tyres were at their best and I’m looking forward to the race as we have a really good car now.”

A fine second on the grid after clocking his fastest lap in the dying moments of the session – and making it an all-Giles Motorsport front row – was Kiwi Alex Crosbie. Despite his front row start, he felt his lap wasn’t perfect. “It didn’t feel like the best I could do or the car could do but it was a good lap at the right time and I’m delighted to be on the front row,” he said.

Kiwi rival Liam Sceats had a solid session in the leading pack throughout and will start the afternoon race from the inside of the second row, alongside Saturday race winner Roman Bilinski, who was also strong throughout.

Kaleb Ngatoa and Gerard Xie line up on the third row while a very fine performance in the circumstances saw Canadian sensation Patrick Woods-Toth take seventh fastest in the session after only running two laps right at the end after his car stopped out on the track early on. A three place grid penalty for causing a session stoppage would shift him down the order on the grid, however.

Michael Shin – who finished third in Saturday’s race – will share the fourth row with Australia’s Elliott Cleary with Italy’s Alpine Junior Nicola Lacorte and Woods-Toth completing the top ten starters.

Sunday morning’s second race will see a grid formed from the top eight finishers in Saturday’s opener, with eighth and seventh placed finishers Alex Crosbie and Tommy Smith starting first and second respectively. Sunday’s feature race will have a grid formed from Q2.

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