Caltex drivers keen to do their bit for Ford Caltex Racing New Zealand V8 Touring Car drivers Paul Pedersen and Angus Fogg head to Timaru tomorrow for the third round of the 2004/05 Parker ENZED New Zealand V8 Touring Car Championship...
Caltex drivers keen to do their bit for Ford
Caltex Racing New Zealand V8 Touring Car drivers Paul Pedersen and Angus Fogg head to Timaru tomorrow for the third round of the 2004/05 Parker ENZED New Zealand V8 Touring Car Championship determined to do their bit for the Ford cause.
This weekend the Timaru International Motor Raceway (Levels) hosts the third round of the 2004/05 Mike Pero Mortgages Motorsport Series with the Parker ENZED New Zealand V8 Touring Cars the main attraction.
Across the Tasman, Ford fans have been on a high since late last year when Falcon driver Marcus Ambrose won his second Australian V8 Supercar title in a row.
But here the pickings have been decidedly slimmer with the first two rounds of the 2004/05 Parker ENZED New Zealand V8 Touring Car Championship turning into benefits for Holden's Commodore.
The Falcons have not been without pace or handling prowess - as Caltex Racing's Angus Fogg proved when he topped the time sheets in practice at the first round of the championship at Pukekohe then set the second fastest time in qualifying at the second in Christchurch - but consistency has not been their long suit.
However, the move to spread the rounds of the series out has taken some of the pressure off the teams running at the front of the field and after stripping, checking and rebuilding the two Caltex cars in Christchurch after the second round in late November, Fogg - who is also responsible for building and engineering the two Caltex-backed International Motorsport-owned Falcons - has spent the past month focused on the team's engine programme.
"We could have tested the cars after Ruapuna but we're actually very happy with the chassis set up," he explained. "Where we haven't been so happy is in the - relative - performance of the cars so it made sense to spend the time and the energy we had getting some more torque and horsepower out of the engines."
As well as being one of only two driver/engineers in the field (the other is championship leader Wade Henshaw) Fogg is one of the few drivers competing in the Parker ENZED series who has raced a Falcon and a Commodore.
He is also the current Parker ENZED New Zealand V8 class lap record holder at the Timaru International Raceway so he is well placed to comment about the relative merits of the competing models going into the weekend.
"I'd have to say that as it stands at the moment the Commodore has an advantage on turn in and getting out of the corners but the Falcon is not too far behind and is probably better on more flowing type tracks like Pukekohe and Teretonga. We're chipping away at the difference between the two and as I think you can see from our times in practice and qualifying at the first and second rounds, the potential in definitely there," he says.
Teammate Paul Pedersen can't help but agree, having finished second overall last year and the year before in a Falcon. The first time he was runner-up to fellow Ford driver Mark (no relation) Pedersen, the second to Holden Commodore driver Andy Booth. Pedersen is also one of the only drivers in the field to completely dominate a round of the Parker ENZED series, having put a Falcon on pole, won all three races and set a new lap record at Taupo in 2003.
He heads south ninth equal in the overall series points standings with fellow Falcon driver Charlie O'Brien, with two other Falcon drivers, Shane Drake and Dean Perkins seventh and eighth respectively.
The Timaru round of the annual Mike Pero Mortgages Motorsport Series is always one of the most popular with crowds of over 10,000 converging on the tight, technical, 2.4km circuit at Levels, north-west of the city. Joining the Parker ENZED New Zealand V8 Touring Cars on the programme this weekend are the Battery Town Porsche GT3s, Bridgestone Porsches, Talley's Formula Fords and the new Toyota Racing Series for identical Toyota-powered single seater racing cars.
Tickets for the meeting are available from Central South Island Tourism by telephoning 0800 484 6278 (toll-free). A weekend pass for one adult is available for $25 if purchased prior to 5pm Friday (a booking fee may apply) or for $30 at the gate. Children under 14 are free if accompanied by an adult.
More information on the Parker ENZED NZ V8 Touring Car Championship and the Mike Pero MotorSport Series can be found on-line at www.nzv8touringcars.co.nz and www.motorsport.org.nz.
<pre> 2004/05 Parker ENZED New Zealand V8 Touring Car championship
Points after Rnd 2 of 7 (provisional) 1. Wade Henshaw Christchurch Holden Commodore 426 points 2. Andy Booth Auckland Holden Commodore 345 3. Paul Manuell Auckland Holden Commodore 326 4. John McIntyre Auckland Ford Falcon 284 5. Mark Pedersen Auckland Ford Falcon 279 6. Kayne Scott Hamilton Holden Commodore 228 7. Shane Drake Auckland Ford Falcon 221 8. Dean Perkins Pukekohe Ford Falcon 197 9=. Paul Pedersen Rotorua Caltex Racing Ford Falcon 182 9=. Charlie O'Brien Australia Ford Falcon 182 20. Angus Fogg Auckland Caltex Racing Ford Falcon 78
Rnd 1 Oct 16-17 Pukekohe Park Raceway Auckland Rnd 2 Nov 27-28 Powerbuilt International Raceway at Ruapuna Park Christchurch Rnd 3 Jan 8-9 Timaru International Motor Raceway (Levels) Timaru Rnd 4 Jan 15-16 Teretonga Park Raceway Invercargill Rnd 5 Feb 19-20 Manfeild Autocourse Feilding Rnd 6 Mar 12-13 Taupo Motor Racing Circuit Taupo Rnd 7 April 15/16/17 Pukekohe Park Raceway Pukekohe (Placemakers V8 Supercar meeting)