CALTEX DRIVER PEDERSEN SECOND IN FIRST V8 RACE AT NEW TAUPO TRACK Caltex Havoline Ford Falcon driver Paul Pedersen came back from a late race clash with championship leader Kayne Scott to finish second in the first Parker ENZED NZ V8s race to...
CALTEX DRIVER PEDERSEN SECOND IN FIRST V8 RACE AT NEW TAUPO TRACK
Caltex Havoline Ford Falcon driver Paul Pedersen came back from a late race clash with championship leader Kayne Scott to finish second in the first Parker ENZED NZ V8s race to he held on the new Taupo Motorsport Centre motor racing circuit east of Taupo this afternoon.
The 10 lap race, won by fastest qualifier John McIntyre, was an action-packed affair, with both Caltex Racing Ford Falcons showing well - particularly in the early laps.
Pedersen - who set the third fastest time in the qualifying session in the morning - got cleanly past second fastest qualifier - and first Holden Commodore driver - Kayne Scott, on the run through the long first turn and held a comfortable second until the seventh lap when Scott got a better run out of Turn 7 and drew level.
The pair remained side by side for a second, until they collided and slid off the track.
"I just couldn't stop in time," Pedersen said. "There was dirt and dust everywhere."
Fortunately, neither car was damaged and both were able to get back onto the track - incredibly, without losing their places in the top three. Scott did get on in front of Pedersen but slowed soon after with a punctured front tyre, allowing Pedersen to assume second place and cross the line equidistant between race winner McIntyre and a surprised and delighted Luke Youlden, also in a Ford Falcon, in third.
Of the new Taupo track Pedersen said;
"It's interesting but right now every corner is a lottery because you don't know how much dust and dirt has been dragged onto it by someone else until you are right on top of it."
Caltex Racing teammate Angus Fogg was also a victim of the changeable track conditions, losing the tail of his Caltex Star Mart Ford Falcon heading into the new/old track link.
Fogg, who had qualified and started fifth, looked set to follow teammate Paul Pedersen at the start but was bundled out of the way by fellow Ford Falcon driver Dean Perkins, then spent the next four laps trying to get back past defending Parker ENZED champion Andy Booth into fifth.
Once he got past, he quickly bridged the gap on Perkins but just as it looked like he was positioning himself for a pass Fogg spun the Caltex Star Mart on the entry to the link section between the old and new track.
Like Pedersen he was able to keep the car going, but unlike his teammate, he had to wait for the next six cars to go by before rejoining the track - in 13th place.
"Obviously I'm not very happy about that (the spin) but you're going quite fast in third gear into it then you're braking, turning right, then turning left, all while you're trying to change down to first gear, so it is quite tricky through there."
With just two laps to go Fogg was up against it. But he put his head down and through a combination of luck and determination made it up to ninth place at the line.
"It was a bit like that," Fogg said." I got a couple of people but by that stage the tyres were mush and the rest of it was pretty much attrition from the cars in front."
And his impressions of the new track?
"It's very different when you are racing on it (compared to practicing and qualifying). Overtaking is always going to be a risk because the corners are so wide and there are so many of them that lots of people are going to try but there are not that many places where you're going to be able to make it stick."
This weekend's round of the 2005/06 Parker ENZED NZ V8s championship is the first major motor racing one on the virtually all-new now 3.5 km Taupo Motorsport Centre circuit.
"The new circuit, based round the old 1.4 km Taupo Car Club track east of the town, is part of the $NZ12.5 million Taupo Motorsport Park developed by private company MIT Development Ltd and the new track features an 830 metre long main straight (which doubles as a drag strip) and can be used in three different configurations.
The Caltex Racing team is in a strong position heading into this weekend's meeting, the penultimate one on the 2005/06 Parker ENZED NZ V8s Championship schedule, after three pole positions from five rounds and a debut round win at Timaru for Fogg and race three wins at the past two rounds for Pedersen.
For fans of the Caltex-backed International Motorsport-run Caltex Ford Falcons there was also something else to look out for this weekend. Angus Fogg has a new helmet and helmet paint job.
Fogg has just upgraded to a new Arai touring car helmet and enlisted the help of local helmet painting guru Mark James of Stir Helmets to help him turn his ideas into reality.
The paint job is based on 'a beach theme...'
There are then two more V8 races on Sunday, both over 18 laps, the first at 11.30am, the second 2.35pm.