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Toyota Racing NZ management decision 'understandable'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

MotorSport New Zealand President Wayne Christie says the decision by Toyota Racing New Zealand to cancel the remaining qualifying sessions and races scheduled for the second round of the 2019 Castrol Toyota Racing Series at Teretonga Park today (Sunday) is understandable given the forecast high wind conditions for Invercargill.

"Ultimately, this kind of decision is up to the category manager - in this case, Toyota Racing New Zealand - not MotorSport New Zealand," says Christie. "They have followed the category regulations and consulted with their team owners and drivers before arriving at their decision. The safety of the competitors - and the volunteers and officials working during the event - is always paramount."

The statement issued by Toyota Racing New Zealand at 11.30am, 20 January 2019 reads:

Following consultation with all team owners and drivers, Toyota Racing New Zealand have today (Sunday) made the decision to cancel all remaining qualifying and racing for the Castrol Toyota Racing Series after gale force winds made circuit conditions unsafe for the high speed formula TRS cars at Teretonga Park in Invercargill.

All concerned supported the decision as the correct course of action with the extreme high winds potentially compromising vehicle downforce.

Average winds of 65 km/h on Saturday and gusts of 100 km/h plus caused significant damage at the track on late Saturday afternoon and evening with the weather forecast for Sunday indicating increases in average winds and of peak gust speeds throughout Sunday.

Castrol Toyota Racing Series Category Manager Nico Caillol was keen to stress the decision had not been made lightly and was based solely on the safety of the 16 drivers and others involved in the series.

"Our conclusion is that the predicted wind speeds and gusts combined with the high speed nature of the coastal track could compromise the downforce of the 500kg machines and potentially put driver safety and the safety of others at an enhanced and unacceptable level of risk.

"It's a shame and we have considered the situation carefully for fans and drivers, but safety comes first and we have reluctantly decided to cancel our qualifying and racing today."

In accordance with the championship articles, the remaining races have been rescheduled. Race 2 which was due to run on Sunday morning will be run at the Hampton Downs meeting next week and Race 3 qualifying and the race will be run at Taupo Motorsport Park the following week.

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