CXC Global Racing/CGR Performance driver Dylan Thomas has scored an outright podium on debut in the Toyota 86 Racing Series at Phillip Island this weekend, finishing third overall with a consistent performance across the three races.
After qualifying eighth, Thomas improved to sixth in Race 1 after running as high as fourth.
“In qualifying, we were struggling with some front-end understeer so we made some changes to the car and it was turning in a lot better in Race 1,” Thomas said.
“I was able to take advantage of some of the other battles to work my way up to fourth, but the car became hot and lost power during the last lap, which cost me a couple of places in the run to the line.”
Thomas was again running fourth in Race 2 before being overtaken by a few cars and falling to seventh.
“Ben Grice went for a late move and I opened the door, which allowed a couple of other cars through,” Thomas said.
In Race 3, Thomas settled into sixth position but made up three spots when a big incident occurred at Turn 4.
“I saw Ben Grice coming together with another car and I had to swerve right to avoid the contact,” Thomas said.
“All of a sudden I was in third place, and then the Safety Car was deployed so it was a good result to finish the weekend.
“Overall, I’m stoked – it’s a really large and competitive field so to be on the podium is a great way to start the season.”
Thomas’ team-mate Peter McNiven was less fortunate, being eliminated from the first race in an incident on the second lap; he recovered to 23rd in Race 2 and 12th in Race 3.
“The weekend started off on the wrong foot with fuel pump dramas in practice, which meant we missed out on some track time and didn’t qualify as well as we would have liked,” McNiven said.
“I was back in the pack for the first race and got caught in dramas, and with these cars being so evenly-matched, it was tough to come back through the field so I was happy with 23rd and 12th. We had the pace to finish in the top 10 in the final, but we ran out of laps.”
The CGR Performance workshop now has more than two months to prepare both 86s for the next round of the series at Townsville, 7-9 July.
Toyota 86 Series Round 1 Results Summary
Qualifying: Thomas 8th, McNiven 27th
Race 1: Thomas 6th, McNiven DNF
Race 2: Thomas 7th, McNiven 23rd
Race 3: Thomas 3rd, McNiven 12th
Toyota 86 Series – Top 10 Points
- Jimmy Vernon – 290
- Warren Luff – 272
- Dylan Thomas – 220
- Damon Strongman – 220
- Jason Bargwanna – 214
- Trent Grubel – 214
- Luke King – 190
- Reid Harker – 188
- Liam McAdam – 188
- Arron Borg – 168
- Peter McNiven – 94