INDEPENDENT NEWS

Three Races For Top Three To Decide TR86 Title

Published: Wed 17 Apr 2024 05:04 PM
Three drivers are still in with a chance of securing the Toyota 86 Championship title and they have the biggest stage in NZ motorsport for what’s set to be a thrilling finale.
Three races at the Supercars debut weekend at the Taupo International Motorsport Park are all that remain in the 2023-2024 season, the final championship shoot-out for the current Toyota 86 model before the new GR86 steps forward for next season.
Tom Bewley, William Exton and Hunter Robb have all had – overall - exceptional seasons being fast and consistent with race victories and podiums.The Toyota 86 Championship title – yet again – will go down to the wire. Picture: Bruce Jenkins.
One of them will take the title this weekend, and follow in the footsteps of last season’s champion Brock Gilchrist. They’ll all be hoping it will be less of a cliff hanger than 2023 when Brock had to limp home with car damage, only securing the title as he crossed the flag in the final race of the season.
Bewley enjoys a lead over Exton of just 10 points, and Robb is just 56 points in arrears. The focus will be on Bewley and Exton but Robb will likely use the ‘outside chance’ tag to his advantage, though the two protagonists will likely have to hit dramas for him to leapfrog them in the table. In an eventful season, though, anything could happen.
Further back behind the title battle, there’s plenty to look out for in what will unquestionably be the championship’s biggest audience of the season. Jackson Rooney, Justin Allen and Hayden Bakkerus will all have one eye on a top five finish in the championship.
Behind them Australian Lockie Bloxsom will be aiming to put on a great show in front of the Supercars team owners while wily veteran John Penny will be solely focussed on race wins on the huge stage.
Alice Buckley was super impressive in the last round at Hampton Downs, and has been improving round on round in the second half of the championship. She could be a dark horse for a huge weekend that might include race wins. One place behind her in the championship, Christina Orr-West will no doubt be looking to finish as top woman in the points, with no fewer than four in the field this weekend.
Another large field of 21 cars – including rising Kiwi racer Ben Stewart who has starred in a number of other categories - will get the final weekend of the season underway with unofficial testing on Thursday, two practice sessions and qualifying on Friday, two races on Saturday and the last race on Sunday.

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