FOGG FASTEST BUT NO LUCK IN FIRST PARKER ENZED NZ V8S RACE
Top Ford driver Angus Fogg (Star Mart Falcon) dominated practice and qualifying at this weekend's first 2006/07 Mike Pero Motorsport Series meeting at Pukekohe's Pukekohe Park Raceway - but neither he nor International Motorsport teammate Paul Pedersen (Caltex Havoline Ford Falcon) could repeat the feat in today's opening race.
Fogg won pole position with a scintillating lap of 1.01.354 in qualifying in the morning session and got the jump on fellow front row starter John McIntyre (Ford Falcon) off the rolling start in the afternoon race. He was also quickest away when the race was re-started after a first lap incident was sorted out, only to have McIntyre got past at the hairpin.
The pair then ran line astern in front of the Ford Falcons of Luke Youlden and David Besnard until the tenth lap when Fogg spun trying to re-take the race lead from McIntyre.
Fortunately there was no damage to his Star Mart Falcon but Fogg had to wait for a break in the traffic to get back onto the track and ended up crossing the line in a hard-won twelfth place, any chance of making up some more places snookered by another incident on the track and yet another deployment of the safety car.
"All part of the learning curve, I suppose, "said Fogg afterwards as he and Pedersen swapped notes about their respective races. "I had a good battle with Johnny there at the start. He got me at the hairpin but then he started holding me up and (David) Besnard started closing the gap on me so I tried a lunge (on McIntyre) at the hairpin but locked the rear brakes up and around she went."
"I had a couple of lockups in qualifying (on his way to setting the pole time) but we obviously still need to get a handle on the new control tyre in a race situation. They're fine for five laps but after that..."
Paul Pedersen was also in the wars, but his problems were more to do with who was around him.
Though he did not feel he got the best out of the V8 category's new, harder compound Dunlop tyre in qualifying - his best lap of 1.02.113 the eighth fastest - he made up several places at the start of the race, only to lose them when he was bunted off the track exiting the hairpin on the first lap, then found himself spinning off into the gravel trap just after the restart when Andy Booth tangled with Cameron McLean.
The Safety Car had to be called out so that track workers could extract Pedersen's Caltex Havoline Ford from the gravel though fortunately he was able to continue, eventually being credited with 23rd position.
"I'm gutted," the former series champion said as he surveyed the damage to his Caltex Havoline car. "There's no other word for it. We didn't quite get my car the way I like it for qualifying but I made two good starts in the race only to get a serve from someone up at the hairpin then a big hit from someone else down at the sweeper. It's not the way I wanted to start the season and unfortunately for the team Angus ended up in the same boat."
Despite the disappointment Fogg's impressive speed in practice and qualifying augers well for the rest of the weekend, and season, the challenge now to dial the two Falcons in to the new control and brake package.
"Some of the other guys have got there so we will too. It's just we're not quite there, in terms of race pace anyway, yet," said Pedersen.
Today's 12 lapper was the first of three Parker ENZED NZ V8s at Pukekohe Park this weekend, with a 16 lap race on Sunday morning and a 20 lap final on the afternoon.
There is then a three-week break until the second round, at Christchurch's Powerbuilt International Raceway at Ruapuna Park over the November 25/26 weekend.
<pre> Qualifying 1. Angus Fogg Star Mart Ford Falcon 1.01.354 2. John McIntyre Ford Falcon 1.01.517 3. Luke Youlden Ford Falcon 1.01.660 4. Paul Manuell Holden Commodore 1.01.855 5. David Besnard Ford Falcon 1.01.915 6. Andrew Anderson Holden Commodore 1.02.124 7. Cameron McLean Ford Falcon 1.02.033 8. Paul Pedersen Caltex Havoline Ford Falcon 1.02.113 9. Dean Perkins Ford Falcon 1.02.186 10. Andrew Fawcett Ford Falcon 1.02.231
Race 1 1. John McIntyre Ford Falcon 2. David Besnard Ford Falcon 3. Luke Youlden Ford Falcon 4. Paul Manuell Holden Commodore 5. Dean Perkins Ford Falcon 6. Clark Proctor Ford Falcon 7. Mark Pedersen Ford Falcon 8. Andrew Fawcet Ford Falcon 9. Haydn Mackenzie Ford Falcon 10. Pete Roberts Ford Falcon
12. Angus Fogg Star Mart Ford Falcon 23. Paul Pedersen Caltex Havoline Falcon