Marcus Armstrong misses out NZ Grand Prix, Toyota Racing Series titles due to engine problems

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NZN

One spluttering engine has cost Kiwi driver Marcus Armstrong dearly at the biggest event of the New Zealand domestic motor racing season.

Marcus Armstrong,  NZ Grand Prix, Toyota Racing Series, Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon, Palmerston North, New Zealand, Sunday 11 February 2018. Photo by John Cowpland /www.photosport.nz

Marcus Armstrong.

Source: Photosport

Armstrong led for the first 30 laps of the New Zealand Grand Prix at Manfeild before a dramatic finish resulted in his slide to seventh.

It also cost him the Toyota Racing Series crown, having led from round one.

Armstrong's car failed to fire when a restart was required with one lap remaining, dropping the Christchurch 17-year-old from second to seventh.

It allowed Dutchman Richard Verschoor to win the race and second-placed Russian Robert Shwartzman to snatch the five-round open wheeler series.

"We had got to the last lap and I was disappointed there was not much I could do," Shwartzman said.

"Then suddenly I finish second and I am the champion. It's incredible, amazing."

Verschoor, who climbed to second overall, finished the series with victory in six of the 15 races, while Shwartzman only won once but was the most consistent performer.

Armstrong had two wins, like Brendan Leitch (Invercargill), Juan Manuel Correa (Ecuador) and Clement Novalak (England).

Evergreen Kiwi Ken Smith finished 12th in his 47th start in the race.

The 76-year-old says he is determined to be on the starting grid again next year.

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