Sports

Andrew roars in New Zealand

Andrew Tang made history yesterday when he became the first Singaporean to win the premier Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand, and the first non-Kiwi to claim the title in 10 years.

Competing in Manfeild, New Zealand, the 19-year-old claimed the Henry Butcher Cup at the end of the five-round, 15-race open wheel championship. He became the second foreigner to lift the Henry Butcher Cup in 59 years.

Tang also won the Dan Higgins Trophy race, breaking the lap record set in 2008.

A jubilant Tang said: "This is a fantastic dream come true. I am truly grateful to my parents who believe in me and have made enormous sacrifices over the years to allow me to pursue my passion, the team for encouraging me and giving me a great car, and all my friends and supporters.

"I'm also very grateful to Mindef for granting me a short deferment in my National Service enlistment. Without their kind gesture, I would not have been able to compete in the final round let alone win the title."

Tang, 19, was due to enlist in the Singapore Police on Feb 4 but received notice of the temporary deferment last Thursday, on the eve of the Lunar New Year.

Tang has stood on the podium eight times in 15 races, three of which he took pole position. His ambition is to be Singapore's first Formula 1 driver and last year, he went through McLaren's physical and mental fitness regimen under the McLaren Young Drivers programme.