Jono LesterJono Lester has held onto his lead in the 2012 Toyota Racing Series Rookie standings despite a challenging outing at the Taupo Motorsport Park over the weekend.

The 22-year old made good of his ‘home track’ knowledge from the outset at Taupo, heading the field in Thursday pre-testing, however inexperience on new tyres hampered Lester in qualifying, managing just 12th position.

The importance of qualifying well in such a competitive championship was realised over the three races, with Lester starting outside of the top ten in all three, and improving to finish in eleventh in the opening race, and ninth in both races two and three on Sunday.

“Everyone knows qualifying is a vital ingredient in any racing, just I realised just how much that’s magnified in a single seater after this weekend,” Lester explained.

“As usual my race pace was good, but that means very little when you’re caught in the pack on a circuit where passing proves both difficult and highly risky.”

On a positive note, Lester was happy with his progression over the weekend as he continues to learn the intricate tuning parameters of a single seater race car.

“We tried a whole bunch of changes this weekend. The last race in particular we seem to have latched onto something, which gives us a really good starting point for Hampton Downs.

“Of course, apart from scoring solid points there, my goal is to get my qualifying sorted. It’s a fine art in one of these cars – the European drivers have it down pat and it’s a flaw in my game that I need to address immediately!”

Lester now sits in eighth overall in the points standings with two rounds remaining, and leads the Rookie standings over Russian driver Dimitri Suranovich and Brazilian Bruno Bonifacio.

Lester is supported in his campaign by the New Zealand Motorsport Trust & The Lion Foundation, and partnered with Counties Toyota, TradeZone Industrial, Ports of Auckland, Vortex Racewear, Hornet Nutrition, Opti-Flex, Chemz, Webdesign, iSign it, R Redpath Limited, Sony Electronics, Loaded Sports Drink and Zero Water.

Photo by Bruce Jenkins/TRS