After a positive weekend at Teretonga the Toyota Racing Series moved up New Zealand’s South Island to Timaru for Round Two at Levels International Raceway. Matteo’s first weekend in the series had taught him many things and shown him what it was like to race in a larger field. Matteo now had a better understanding of the importance of his qualifying pace and how to achieve it, and was focused on improving his performance at Timaru.
Two days testing prior to the weekend saw Matteo moving up the time sheets as he got to grips with the very technical, tight race circuit. The first qualifying session was marred by two red flags, breaking up Matteo’s flow, however he was able to put a competitive time in quite early on which placed him an excellent seventh on the grid for Race One.
In the second qualifying session Matteo was the first driver out of the pit lane, hoping to again put in his time early with the expectation of more red flags. Although there was a red flag Matteo again posted seventh fastest time confirming his first session pace qualifying performance.
The tight circuit and short run from the starting grid to the first chicane makes for a unique experience in Timaru. As Matteo made one of his excellent storming starts, he was a little over ambitious as the field entered the chicane. Matteo’s attempt to overtake on the inside into the first corner led to him being squeezed, resulting in a collision with Macauley Jones and a consequent pile up of cars as there was no where to go.
As a result of Matteo’s Race One ending on the first lap, he was forced to start from the back of the grid. Matteo again made a very good start and was up four places before a safety car period ensued. Impatient to make his way up the field at the restart Matteo went to move around the outside of team mate Alif Hamdan who had lost his front wing towards the end of the straight, but unfortunately he was squeezed between Hamdan and Macaulay Jones, which forced him into a spin and ended his race.
A very disheartening weekend for Matteo, who having made such good progress in his qualifying performance, felt he could have had some very good race results. Matteo has analysed where improvements in his race craft can be made and hopes to combine this with his improved qualifying skills.