CALTEX CARS FAST BUT IN THE WARS IN CHRISTCHURCH
The Caltex Racing Ford Falcon V8s of Paul Pedersen and Angus Fogg were fast but in the wars on the first day of competition at the second round of the 2005/06 Parker ENZED NZ V8s Championship at Christchurch's Powerbuilt International Raceway at Ruapuna Park this weekend.
After topping the time sheets in the second timed practice session on Friday afternoon, Pedersen set the second fastest qualifying time and a new lap record in the first race.
And after setting the third fastest time on Friday and the seventh fastest time in the qualifying session Fogg spent part of the first lap of the first race in third place.
Unfortunately that's as good as it got for the two Caltex Racing Ford Falcon V8s.
Pedersen outdragged eventual race winner Luke Youlden at the start of the first Parker ENZED V8s race of the weekend in fine, warm conditions this afternoon, but Youlden emerged from the first corner in front after hitting Pedersen and sending the Caltex Havoline Ford Falcon into a half spin.
"I passed Luke off the start and I was a long way ahead of him going into Turn 1," explained Pedersen. "I braked, turned in and was about to get on the gas to drive out when whammo I got a big hit in the left rear guard which half turned me, then I got tagged by someone else and it was all on."
Though it looked nasty on TV the damage to the Caltex Havoline car was fortunately minimal, meaning that Pedersen could drive back to the pits, replace the front spoiler and go back out to try and salvage points and honour.
"When something like that happens," said the former class champion, " all you can do is go back out and try and set a new lap record. So that's what we did!"
Though Pedersen and most of the other front running Ford Falcons and Holden Commodores lapped under Wade Henshaw's existing class lap record in qualifying, to claim a new record a driver must set that time in a race - which Pedersen did, his new benchmark, 1.30.267, a good one and a half seconds under the Henshaw time. A time which bodes well for the weekend's other two races because as Pedersen said after qualifying this morning;
"We struggled a wee bit with understeer at Pukekohe (at the first round of the 2005/06 Parker ENZED series at the beginning of the month) but fundamentally the Caltex cars were good and we knew that they were only going to get better. Since then Angus and the guys at International Motorsport have done a fantastic job of getting my Caltex Havoline car to the way I like it and we now have a very well balanced race car, the result of which I think you can see in our times today!"
Several other top line drivers were caught out in the first turn melee, which - surprisingly - did not result in the race being red-flagged, meaning Australian driver Luke Youlden took the chequered flag after eight laps from Holden drivers Kayne Scott and Paul Manuell and local driver Adam Brook in the second Ford Falcon across the line.
Caltex StarMart driver Angus Fogg, who had started the race from the inside of the fourth row of the grid, initially thought he had escaped the worst of the contretemps at Turn 1, only to take a heavy blow on the way out corner.
"I got a good clean start," he explained, "and got up to about fifth place going into the first turn. I saw all the drama unfold on my outside, but there was a clear gap up the inside, but the trouble seemed to follow me around and just when I thought I was through one car ricocheted of another and into mine."
The impact damaged the right hand front steering and pushed the guard onto the tyre, though unlike Pedersen, Fogg was about to keep circulating, albeit at a reduced pace, eventually crossing the line in 16th place.
There are two more races for the Parker ENZED NZ V8s at Powerbuilt International Raceway at Ruapuna Park this weekend, one 14 lap race in the morning and another in the afternoon.
<pre> Practice 1. Paul Pedersen Caltex Havoline Ford Falcon 1.30.732 2. Luke Youlden Ford Falcon 1.30.905 3. Angus Fogg Caltex StarMart Ford Falcon 1.31.038 4. Paul Manuell Holden Commodore 1.31.209 5. Adam Brook Ford Falcon 1.31.245 6. Kayne Scott Holden Commodore 1.31.604 7. John McIntyre Ford Falcon 1.31.664 8. Cameron McLean Ford Falcon 1.31.685 9. Andy Booth Holden Commodore 1.31.745 10. Mark Pedersen Ford Falcon 1.31.816
Qualifying 1. Luke Youlden Ford Falcon 1.30.324 2. Paul Pedersen Caltex Havoline Ford Falcon 1.30.339 3. Kayne Scott Holden Commodore 1.30.382 4. John McIntyre Ford Falcon 1.30.382 5. Paul Manuell Holden Commodore 1.30.707 6. Adam Brook Ford Falcon 1.30.858 7. Angus Fogg Caltex StarMart Ford Falcon 1.30.899 8. Andy Booth Holden Commodore 1.31.080 9. Mark Pedersen Ford Falcon 1.31.275 10. Andrew Fawcett Ford Falcon 1.31.295
Race 1 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