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Rookie Stichbury takes debut Toyota 86 pole position

Zac Stichbury turned the championship form book on its head with a stunning pole position lap at the Taupo Motorsport Park on Saturday morning – the first for a rookie this season.

The 20 year old Hawkes Bay driver backed up excellent Friday practice form to deliver a fast lap when it mattered in the Armstrongs supported Mackenzie Motorsport car, claiming the Castrol Pole Position Trophy with a 1 minute 44.486 lap in perfect conditions at the fifth round of the Toyota 86 Championship.

That put him just over two tenths ahead of a fired up Brock Gilchrist in the CareVets Scholarship car, and he was delighted with his debut pole position.

“I rolled out and even on the grid it’s the best I ever felt and I felt calm and had energy and was just excited to get out there and see what we could do on the new tyres,” he said afterwards.

“The car hasn’t really changed and the team have given me a good car all season, I just had to put my head down after Pukekohe and if I wanted it, which I do, I had to go out and do it. I’ve put in the work and it has paid off.”

Championship leader Rowan Shepherd was third for Action Motorsport, but arch rivals Simon Evans and Justin Allen could only manage sixth and ninth places respectively on the grid for Saturday afternoon’s race.

Ronan Murphy put in a solid performance to take fourth position and a place on the second row of the grid while Hugo Allan will join Evans on the third row of the grid with fifth fastest time.

Behind sixth-place Evans, Dion Pitt will start seventh, Marco Giltrap eighth, then Allen in ninth and an ever-improving Todd Prujean in tenth.

Further back Chelsea Herbert put in her best qualifying performance of the season so far to take 12th and a place on the sixth row while the other two ladies in the field, Christina Orr-West and Rianna O’Meara Hunt will line up in 15th and 17th positions on the grid respectively. Eddie Iraia – debuting in place of Mark Mallard, lined s up in 20th place on the grid.

The first race of the weekend over eight laps gets underway at 3.05pm.

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