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Robb saves best to last to win 86 feature race

Hunter Robb saved his best to last with a fine win in the feature race at Manfeild – Circuit Chris Amon this afternoon.

It was the first win of the weekend for the young racer and was enough to seal the round win after a solid weekend around the 3.03km Manawatu track.

With a grid formed from the best lap times recorded in the first two races, it was Tom Bewley who sat on pole position in the soaking wet conditions, and it was Tom who made the best start as the field slithered away from the lights.

There wasn’t much to choose between the leaders as they surged through the first lap, and Bewley led from Hunter Robb, Jackson Rooney, William Exton, John Penny, Cormac Murphy and the rest.

Penny’s run at the front came to an end when spun out of contention on the second lap and then moments later Robb made a pass for the lead.

Bewley immediately repassed but had to redress as the Safety Car flag was out for Summer Rintoule, who had a big off at the final corner on lap three after sliding wide on the exit and clouting the tyre barrier hard. The Australian racer thankfully walked away from the crash unhurt. Her car wasn’t as lucky.

With the rain stopped but the track still very damp the Safety Car pulled in at the end of lap 7.
It was Robb who had control of the restart and he made the best getaway to assume the lead.

Bewley put himself under immediate pressure from Rooney by going wide at turn one but Jackson didn’t have enough pace and Bewley settled back into his rhythm quickly to edge a few car lengths.

It was all good news for Robb who had a one second lead out front as the field settled down. Behind the top three Justin Allen, William Exton and Cormac Murphy were enjoying a fine battle for fourth, fifth and sixth.

As the laps counted down Bewley began to nibble away at Robb’s lead, reducing it to just over half a second and looking likely to challenge. Further back Alex Hawley went off at the Higgins corner avoiding a spinning Tayler Bryant and retired with heavy rear damage to his TR86, but thankfully he made it back to the pits and there was no second Safety Car.

An impatient Bewley almost went off attempting a late race pass on the leader on the last lap, but Robb came home for a well-deserved win ahead of Bewley and Justin Allen. Allen made a late charge after the Safety Car period and passed Rooney late on to finish his weekend on a high.

Exton and Murphy came home in fifth and sixth, while Alice Buckley ended a great weekend with seventh place. The Australian 86 scholarship race winner came home one place ahead of the Scholarship series champion Lockie Bloxsom in eighth with Harry Townshend ninth. A fighting drive by Brooklyn Horan netted him tenth place.

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