Waikato (New Zealand), Feb 1 (IANS) Force India Academy racer Jehan Daruvala had a good weekend in Round 3 of the Toyota Racing Series here.
The Indian teenager was quick throughout and won two podiums out of three races. His consistent performance brought in a good points haul and Jehan improved his championship standings from sixth to third.
Jehan qualified second, 0.17 seconds behind pole sitter Lando Norris and both racers had good starts as the lights went out. Lando 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.
In the mid-section of the race, both lapped consistently and the gap remained unchanged. In the last few laps though, Jehan was on a charge and managed to close the gap considerably to Lando. Jehan’s pace saw him put in the fastest lap time of the race but it was too late to catch Lando who won by a margin of 1.5 seconds to Jehan. Son of former Formula 1 World Champion Nelson Piquet, Pedro was third, 3.4 seconds behind Jehan.
The start order for Race 2 was based on the top eight finishers in Race 1 being reversed. Jehan therefore started seventh and had one of his best starts yet. He almost made it to fourth but was pushed wide by another racer into the grass.
This dropped him down to 10th. Amidst two safety car restarts, Jehan overtook three cars and was soon seventh. He then benefited from a few cars crashing out and overtook another car to finish fourth and earn some additional points.
Qualifying for Race 3 was extremely close as the top three were within 0.09 seconds. Pedro was on pole ahead of Lando and Jehan. Lando was however demoted with a penalty and Jehan started second but lost a place at the start. The race saw two safety car periods and the race was eventually won by Pedro followed by local racer James Munro. Jehan came third to ensure his second visit to the podium and another good weekend for him.
“I have been consistent the entire weekend. It was unfortunate that I fell from fifth to 10th in Race 2. 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.
With two rounds and six races left, Jehan has managed to close the gap to the front-runners. After entering the round in sixth overall, he has now moved up to just three points adrift of Pedro in second. Ferrari Academy racer Guanyu Zhou from China is just three points behind Jehan in fourth. The next race will be in the coming weekend in Taupo.