Auckland racer Nick Cassidy has won the New Zealand Grand Prix – and the Toyota Racing Series – for the second successive time.
Cassidy, racing this year with M2 Competition, now has two back to back championship titles, two consecutive Grand Prix wins and on the way to his 2013 victory logged two outright wins.
He said the Grand Prix, finishing ahead of a determined Alex Lynn, was hard work.
Three safety car periods bunched the field during the 35 lap race, forcing Cassidy to focus on his restart technique in order to keep Lynn and third-placed Steijn Schothorst behind him.
At the start, Cassidy surged ahead of pole man Lynn and set about building a strong lead that extended to a second or more in the opening laps, though Lynn then chased him down. They repeated their battle through each of the three safety periods, though Lynn was not able to get close enough to attempt a pass on the New Zealander.
Rookie Jann Mardenborough pushed through to be an impressive seventh, Tatiana Calderon was circulating twelfth while behind them ETEC Competition racers Andrew Tang and Tanart Sathienthirakul were locked in a battle with Victory Motor Racing’s Michael Scott and Damon Leitch.
The drive of the event for many was Lucas Auer’s attack from 13th on the grid through the field and as high as fourth before Pipo Derani and Bruno Bonifacio both slipped past him into the fast Higgins corner.
Cassidy’s Grand Prix win set the seal on a tough season that had seen him majoring on consistent performance but only able to secure one win before the Grand Prix. He set fastest lap of the race, a 1:04.631 was outside the existing lap record 1:03.820 of set in 2008 by Earl Bamber.
The championship title went to Cassidy with a final points tally of 915, 112 clear of Alex Lynn who narrowly overtook Lucas Auer, 803 points to 797. Cassidy, Auer and fourth placed Steijn Schothorst sealed the teams’ championship for M2 Competition.
Gamer-turned-racer Jann Mardenborough was rookie of the season.