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Rookie Tom Bewley takes Toyota 86 race two win

Rookie Tom Bewley marked himself as a contender for honours in this season’s Toyota 86 Championship with a dramatic win in the second race at Highlands Motorsport Park today.

Bewley enjoyed a fantastic battle with race leader Dion Pitt in the final couple of laps, first closing in on him before an outstanding pass for the lead at the final corner with one lap to go. Pitt fought back and got his car alongside on the drag race to the finish line but came up short by just a few hundredths of a second. The win went to Bewley and it was an impressive performance in only his second race in the championship.

“I knew when I was getting close what I had to do but I also knew it was going to be tough because it was for the lead and Dion’s raced in the series a while and he knows his way around the track” the delighted rookie said afterwards.

“I hope I’ve put a mark on the championship now and that I can continue to push and be a contender for races and for the title but there’s a long way to go yet.”

The grid format for the second race in the Toyota 86 Championship was a reverse top ten based on the results from the first race on Saturday so it was the older of the two Osborne brothers, Fynn, who would start from pole position with 15 year old Australian Rylan Gray alongside him on the front row. Saturday’s top three, Brock Gilchrist, Clay Osborne and Justin Allen would start 10th, 9th and 8th respectively.

Both Harry Townshend and Saxon Sheehan were back on the grid for the second race too – Sheehan in the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing test car and Townshend in the ex-Ronan Murphy car which just happened to be in a garage nearby.

It was Gray who won the race to the first chicane, taking the lead from Osborne as the rest filed through, thankfully without the dramas of Saturday’s race. Allen made a great start and had Gilchrist behind him as the two made early progress through the 18-car field.

At the end of the first lap it was Gray from a hard charging Fyn Osborne from Gray, Dion Pitt, Christina Orr West, Bewley, Tayler Bryant, Allen, Gilchrist and Clay Osborne. It all went wrong for Fynn next time around however as he made a late lunge on the leader and turned the Castrol car around, promoting an instant investigation by race stewards.

By the third lap interest had turned to the progress being made through the field by the Saturday pacesetters Gilchrist, Osborne and Allen. Allen was leading the charge, finding a way past Christina on lap three and putting a car between himself and Gilchrist.

At the front Pitt had the hammer firmly down and had built a lead of about a second with six laps to go and it looked like he would get home and dry. Bewley had other ideas though. Next time around and Bewley was up to second and a flying Allen up to third with Gilchrist next through, chasing hard but unable to make too much of an impression on Allen ahead. Allen in fact was able to build a small margin over Gilchrist as the two moved through the traffic. It did go Gilchrist’s way eventually however, with a brave move over the bridge that had the crowd on their feet.

Having moved into second, Bewley set about catching the leader and had the gap down to just over a second with three laps to go. With two to go Bewley was under a second behind and quickly latched on to Dion’s bumper. Passing around the final corner is difficult at Highlands, but Tom made it stick and fended off a determined Pitt until the end despite the cars crossing the line just centimetres apart.

Gilchrist came home a fighting third to maintain his excellent weekend momentum while Allen followed him home in fourth. Orr-West took fifth after a strong race.

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