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Penny turns back the years with Toyota 86 pole position

Reigning Master class champion John Penny showed the youngsters he’s a force to be reckoned with after a great lap in qualifying secured him pole position for the first race of the weekend at the second round of the 2023-24 Toyota 86 Championship.

Penny – a racer of note in the New Zealand motorsport scene for a quarter of a century – looked smooth throughout around Manfeild – Circuit Chris Amon and clocked his best time in the first half of the session. His first effort of 1 minute 20.355 lap would remain unbeaten.

“I woke up feeling good about today and we knew we had a good car from testing on Friday,” said Penny afterwards after securing what is his first category pole position start.

“The front three of us in the group we were in at the beginning of the session got a decent tow but my lap was pretty good, I knew at the end of it I’d had it hooked it up on every corner but it’s still awesome to get pole position.”

Second was championship leader Tom Bewley who had clearly spent the Friday test sessions tuning his car set-up rather than going for a top time. When he did go for a time he was immediately on the pace and ended the session just nine one hundredths behind and sharing the front row with Penny.

Hunter Robb was third fastest confirming his testing pace and he was followed by two others who had shown good pace on Friday – Jackson Rooney and William Exton. That completed the top five and all were less than three tenths off pole position, proving once again how closely matched the grid in the 2023-2024 championship is.

Cormac Murphy ran well for sixth, with Harry Townshend, local favourite Justin Allen, an impressive Saxon Sheehan and Will Morton rounding out the top ten.

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