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Robb comes out firing with epic Toyota 86 pole position lap

Hunter Robb grabbed the initiative for the weekend at the fourth round of the Toyota 86 Championship at the Highlands Motorsport Park this morning with a spectacular – and very important – pole position performance.

It was Robb’s first ever pole position and he was delighted. “It’s great to get a first pole position, and it’s a great start to the weekend,” he explained afterwards. “You never know in practice what’s going on but it’s great that today we were able to take pole position. It’s going to be important here.”

Perfect conditions greeted the 21 runners at the spectacular Cromwell track for the 20 minute qualifying session in one of the championship’s most competitive seasons.

As usual there was a significant burst of activity as the field tried to get a good lap in nice and early with the tyres at their absolute best.

The top of the timing board was indeed very busy in the first five minutes or so as Hunter Robb was the first of the leading runners to clock a fast lap, just over 1 minute 53 seconds.

Lockie Bloxsom was also true to his testing form and near the front from the outset, jousting with championship leader Tom Bewley and William Exton, while Jackson Rooney lurked in fifth place. Brooklyn Horan, impressive again, headed the rest of a closely-matched pack.

Robb went quicker again on his second big effort to get into the 1 minute 52 second bracket, near record pace and he was quickly followed by Bewley who was hurling his TR86 in spectacular fashion as he tried to beat Robb’s best.

Bloxsom was next to catch the eye, eclipsing Bewley’s best lap almost half way through the session to go second. Tayler Bryant also popped into the lead pack at the halfway point with sixth fastest lap.

A quick trip to the pits around the halfway point left the track quiet before they all headed out for one last big effort.

Robb’s best still gave him a margin of almost two tenths of a second over Bloxsom – not a great deal at all, but in Toyota 86 terms a decent gap.

Hunter’s efforts to beat his own were spectacular, but Bewley’s were even more on the limit as he bounced across the chicanes on two wheels and across the grass in his efforts to secure pole position.

He bettered his own best lap, but couldn’t match the two ahead and Robb’s earlier session lap remained unbeaten.

A fine performance by Bloxsom saw him secure his first Race 1 front row start, with series leader Bewley having to be satisfied with a start from the second row, albeit only fractions of a second behind the top two. William Exton was fast too, taking fourth on the grid and perhaps a little disappointed after his Thursday and Friday pace.

Fifth was Rooney, sixth Bryant and Horan seventh. Hayden Bakkerus emerged from the action in eighth, Saxon Sheehan ninth and Cormac Murphy continued his impressive rookie season with tenth.

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