Cameron Das has clinched his best finish in the 2018 Castrol Toyota Racing Series New Zealand following the conclusion of the penultimate round of the Championship. The up and coming American racer pulled off a supreme last corner move on the very last lap to steal sixth position as his own at a track he has clearly enjoyed racing on this weekend. The strong haul of points sees the 2016 F4 US Champion move up a position in the Championship standings with one final round to go this coming weekend.
Racing at the Taupo circuit 17-year-old Das was immediately a challenger in his Victory Motor Racing car. Using the practice sessions on offer to his full advantage, Das once again proved that he had the pace within him. In free practice, he topped the time sheets as he and the team looked ahead to qualifying on Saturday morning.
But changeable weather conditions ensured that this would be no simple task making the prospect of qualifying an even trickier affair. Running on slick tyres in the wet conditions Das was able to deal with this well and put in a stellar performance to see him start the first and final races of the weekend in eighth and fifth respectively.
Lining up for the opening race of the weekend Das once again jumped off the line well and was making strong progress within the field. Up to sixth in no time at all, Das’ race was then shattered with a front wing failure which ruled him out of the race completely. As a result, he was forced to start out of position and from the back of the grid for the second race of the weekend.
Keeping his focus well and truly on those in front of him, Das’ trademark launch off the line was another impressive feat and saw him brilliantly manoeuvre his way past those in front and on to the back of the top five challengers. However an uncharacteristic mistake saw him run off track and fall to the back of the grid before he was later spun around by a competitor leaving him to finish in 11th overall.
Race three provided the strongest result of the weekend for Das, and his best result of the 2018 Castrol TRS New Zealand to date. Starting from fifth on the grid, following his great qualifying performance, Das enjoyed an action-packed, fast-paced race with his shining move coming on the last corner of the very last lap when he pulled off an incredibly brave overtake to clinch sixth position as his own upon crossing the line. The result also sees Das improve on his overall championship position as the final round of the 2018 season faces him this coming weekend.
“This weekend was certainly a positive one from the start,” Das said of the Taupo round. “We ended practice quickest which was a good confidence boost going into qualifying. But then with the inevitable island weather, we had a slicks-on-wet qualifying which made the session a bit of a lottery. In the first race, I had another demon start, and I ran sixth until an unfortunate front wing failure ended my race.
“Starting from the back in the second race, I had another brilliant start and had already gained quite a few positions however I made a mistake, went off track and fell back to last. I overtook a couple more cars to try and get something from the race, but I was spun by another car so 11th was the final position. My start in the final race wasn’t quite a strong as the other two, but I methodically worked my way back through the pack. On the final lap, I made an incredibly late move in the final corner that put me just 0.08 ahead of my fellow competitor resulting in a sixth-place finish. It was one of the best overtakes of my career, and it goes to show how much the TRS New Zealand racing series can bring out in a driver.
“I offer a huge thanks to the Victory Racing team for working so hard this weekend, and again to my partners Autobahn Indoor Speedway, Bertil Roos Racing School, and Meguiars Polish for providing this opportunity!”
The final round of the 2018 TRS New Zealand takes place next weekend at Manfeild.