FOGG AND PEDERSEN ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES AT RUAPUNA
Caltex Racing Ford Falcon drivers Paul Pedersen and Angus Fogg had to roll with the punches at the second round of the 2005/06 Parker ENZED NZ V8s Championship at Christchurch's Powerbuilt International Raceway at Ruapuna this weekend.
From the highs of being fastest in practice on Friday and setting a new lap record on Saturday, to the lows of a dns (did-not-start) in the final race on Sunday, former series champ Paul Pedersen saw it all - what looked like being a weekend to remember snookered by Australian Luke Youlden in the first race.
Pedersen, who joined Youlden on the front row of the grid for the first race, beat the young Australian driver to the first corner, but was sent spinning to a halt when Youlden hit him on the way through it.
Justice was done when Youlden was later disqualified, fined and had his license endorsed, but that was of little comfort to Pedersen, who was slowed in the second race of the weekend, first by a power steering then a radiator problem, and only managed the warmup lap in the third before a head gasket cried enough.
It was a disappointing end to what had all the ingredients of being a bumper weekend for Pedersen, and the former class and New Zealand TraNZam champion admitted he was gutted - as much for the Caltex Racing team and his hard-working crew as anyone else.
"International Motorsport and Angus and his team have done a fantastic job on the car and it is working really great. We were fastest all day in testing, we qualified second, we've got the lap record - which is eight-tenths quicker than anyone else has gone around here in a race - but you know, when something like that (the Youlden incident) happens all that hard work is undone."
Though the team pressure-tested the Caltex Havoline car's radiator after the incident in the first race (in which the front splitter was damaged and replaced) Pedersen says that the engine temperature was steadily climbing in the second race, though he was prompted to pit when the power steering failed.
The news from his crew wasn't good - and the writing was on the wall.
Despite that Pedersen went back out so that he could cross the line and claim some points when the chequered flag came out, but there wasn't enough time to change engines between races and when the temperature gauge went straight back up to danger level on the warmup lap before the third race Pedersen returned to the pits and parked the Caltex Havoline car to avoid further engine damage.
Despite the disappointment, Pedersen says that he can see an up side.
"I've always said, give me a good car and we will win, and the one thing for me that has come out of this weekend is that I now have a very good car! So watch out for the Caltex Havoline car at Teretonga."
Pedersen's teammate, and the International Motorsport engineer responsible for the Caltex cars, Angus Fogg, had a better run though he too suffered as a result of the Youlden incident.
Fogg's car took a heavy hit from another car which, as Fogg put it, 'ricocheted off someone else' as he drove past, and though at least he was able to finish the race it was at the expense of the front right hand tyre which was rubbing against the crumpled front guard.
The fact that Fogg managed to work his way up up through the field from the eighth row of the grid to eighth place in the second race of the weekend on Sunday morning is testament more to his never-say-die attitude, but even then there was a downside. What Fogg described as a 'major flat spot' in the carburettor didn't help but had he made it another place in either the first or second race he would have started the final reverse top-eight grid race from pole!
As it turned out he started it from the fifth row of the grid and spent a torrid 14 laps battling with ...Luke Youlden.
Like Fogg, Youlden was trying to move forward and at one stage he did manage to get in front of Fogg, but the Caltex StarMart car prevailed with Fogg crossing the line in ninth place.
There is now a break of just over a month until the third round of the 2005/06 Parker ENZED NZ V8s Championship - at Invercargill's Teretonga Park over the Jan 14/15 weekend.
<pre> Race 1 (8 laps) 1. Luke Youlden Ford Falcon 12.16.793 2. Kayne Scott Holden Commodore +0.320 3. Paul Manuell Holden Commodore +2.563 4. Adam Brook Ford Falcon +7.604 5. Andrew Anderson Holden Commodore +11.826 6. Andy Booth Holden Commodore +13.141 7. Mark Pedersen Ford Falcon +16.284 8. Clark Proctor Ford Falcon +17.374 9. Brent Collins Holden Commodore +18.101 10. Shannon O'Brien Ford Falcon +20.474 also 16. Angus Fogg Caltex StarMart Ford Falcon +31.830 26. Paul Pedersen Caltex Havoline Ford Falcon +3 laps
Race 2 (14 laps) 1. Kayne Scott Holden Commodore 21.33.136 2. Andy Booth Holden Commodore +5.073 3. Paul Manuell Holden Commodore +5.532 4. Adam Brook Ford Falcon +7.835 5. John McIntyre Ford Falcon +9.207 6. Mark Pedersen Ford Falcon +10.472 7. Andrew Anderson Holden Commodore +14.425 8. Angus Fogg Caltex StarMart Ford Falcon +15.457 9. Clark Proctor Ford Falcon +16.394 10. Kevin Williams Holden Commodore +25.413 also 27: Paul Pedersen Caltex Havoline Ford Falcon
Race 3 (14 laps) 1. John McIntyre Ford Falcon 21.44.946 2. Mark Pedersen Ford Falcon +7.874 3. Paul Manuell Holden Commodore +12.891 4. Andy Booth Holden Commodore +15.279 5. Andrew Anderson Holden Commodore +16.432 6. Kayne Scott Holden Commodore +16.808 7. Dean Perkins Ford Falcon +18.312 8. Kevin Williams Holden Commodore +19.737 9. Angus Fogg Caltex StarMart Ford Falcon +19.981 10. Luke Youlden Ford Falcon +20.968 DNS Paul Pedersen Caltex Havoline Ford Falcon