Sahara Force India Academy driver, Jehan Daruvala, had a good weekend in round three of the Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand. The Indian teenager was quick throughout and added two podiums out of three races, to his impressive early 2016 tally.
His consistent performances brought in a good points haul, improving his championship standings from sixth to third with two rounds left in the series. “I have been consistent the entire weekend. It was unfortunate that I fell from fifth to tenth in race two: climbing back to fourth ensured the points. The championship is much closer now but I am going to stay focused and treat each race individually. I must thank the team for a good and consistent car as well,” said Jehan.
He qualified second, 0.17 second behind pole sitter Lando Norris and both racers had a good start as the lights went off. Norris had excellent pace in the first few laps as he opened up a gap on Jehan, who in turn opened a gap to the racers behind him. Midway into the race, both lapped consistently and the gap remained unchanged. In the last few laps though, Jehan started on a charge and managed to close the gap considerably to his rival. Jehan’s pace saw him put in the fastest laptime of the race, but it was too late to catch Norris, who won by a margin of 1.5 seconds, with Pedro Piquet in third a further 3.4 seconds behind.
The start order for race two was based on a top-eight reverse grid: Jehan therefore started seventh and had one of his best starts so far. He almost made it up to fourth, but was pushed wide by another racer into the grass and dropped to tenth. Amid two safety car restarts, Jehan overtook three cars and was soon back in his starting. Benefiting from a few cars crashing out, the Mumbaikar overtook another driver to finish the race in fourth position and earn some additional valuable points.
Qualifying for race three was extremely close, as the top three drivers were within 0.09 second. Piquet was on pole ahead of Norris and Jehan. A penalty to the British driver saw Jehan start second, but the Indian lost a place at the start. The race, however, saw two periods of safety car intervention and was eventually won by Brazil’s Piquet, followed by local racer James Munro. Jehan came third to ensure his second visit to the podium at another good weekend for him.
Ferrari Academy racer, Guanyu Zhou from China, is in turn just three points behind Jehan in fourth. The next race will be on the coming weekend in Taupo.