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Jan 20, 2014 - 06:32 AM
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USA's Tveter Gets Top-Five Finish at Timaru
Posted by: newsla on Jan 20, 2014 - 06:31 AM
USA's Tveter Gets Top-Five Finish at Timaru

The United States’ Ryan Tveter recorded his first top-five finish in Toyota Racing Series action Sunday in the featured race at Timaru International Raceway with his Game Ready Injury Treatment Systems #4.


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The top-five finish was achieved despite the fact that it was just the second weekend of competition for Tveter in this series, and he started eighth in a field of 23 that included rising stars from 13 different nations.

Tveter got a great start with his Giles Motorsports-prepared car, as he rose to sixth place by the end of lap one in the 20-lap race that went non-stop. He got fifth working lap seven when Egor Orudzhev pitted, reportedly for a faulty camshaft sensor.

Tveter spent the rest of the race trying to catch James Munro while holding off Steijn Schothorst, setting his fastest lap of the race on lap 18 with a 58.150. Despite the torrid pace he made all his marks and was rewarded with the top-five result in the race, which was for the Timaru Herald Trophy.

Earlier in the day Tveter took the checkered flag in tenth place in Race 2, only to rise to eighth when two drivers ahead of him were penalized when the final standings were released. Tveter started ninth in that race but got spun in Turn 1 with one lap in the books. He had to report to the rear of the field, or 22nd place, and try to regroup. That was very difficult because that 15-lap race only had seven green-flap laps, so Tveter was satisfied with the eighth-place finish with his car, which is also sponsored by the Autobau Museum and Conference Center in Switzerland.

Race 1 was all about survival. Tveter started 11th and just missed becoming involved in a six-car accident in Turn 1 on the first lap that brought out a red flag. With some of the cars around him unable to proceed, Tveter was sixth for the restart. Brendan Leitch got around him to drop him to seventh place soon thereafter, but Tveter was able to maintain seventh until the very end when Martin Rump and Jann Mardenborough got around him. Tveter took the checkered flag in ninth place sandwiched between two British drivers who are also his teammates, as Mardenborough was 3.246 seconds ahead of him and Matt Rao was 0.619 of a second behind.

The first weekend of action in the series was an up-and-down affair for Tveter, 19, of Oyster Bay, N.Y. He topped the charts in the second official practice session for that event, held a Teretonga Park in Invercargill, New Zealand Jan. 8-12. That lap of the 2.62-kilometer circuit took just 55.77 seconds, which wasn’t far off from the track record of 54.282.

Invercargill is the southernmost permanent race circuit in the world, and drastically changing weather conditions were challenging for all the teams.

Tveter started ninth in the first race on Saturday and was fighting for seventh place when he was pushed off the track in Turn 1 by another competitor following a restart. The result was a wild spin through a gravel trap. Tveter made a spectacular save, however, and finished that 13-lap race in 19th position. That race was supposed to be 15 laps long but it was cut short by two laps and ended under caution. After the race the driver who caused Tveter to go off course was penalized 50 seconds, but the damage was done.

Tveter posted a top-10 finish in the second race, which was another 15-lapper on Sunday morning. Although it wasn't the top-five finish Tveter hoped for, it was an accomplishment to just finish that race due to heavy rain. The cars produced huge plumes of spray that made visibility extremely difficult. Tveter started 19th in that event.

He almost got another top-10 in the featured race on Sunday afternoon. That 20-lap race, called the Spirit of a Nation, was held in sunny conditions and he finished 11th after starting 16th. There were only two full-course yellows in that race but Tveter used the restarts to his advantage to advance before time ran out, as that race ended under yellow too.

Next weekend the series travels to Highlands Park in Cromwell, New Zealand. More information is available on line at toyotaracing.co.nz.

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