HALLIDAY GETS THE WIN HE WANTED IN BATTERY TOWN PORSCHE GT3 CUP SERIES FINALE
Matt Halliday got the win he wanted in the final Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Series race of the season at the Placemakers V8 Supercar meeting at Pukekohe's Pukekohe Park Raceway this morning.
After proving he had what it took to beat arch-rival Craig Baird off the line in Saturday's race - only to lose the advantage when he drifted wide through the second of the Placemakers esses - Halliday was in no mood to accept second best today, rocketing away from Baird and last season's GT3 series winner Jim Richards and establishing an impressive early lead.
Baird, who had already won the 2004/05 Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Series title and who won the 12 lap race on Saturday, eventually closed the gap with a stunning 58.077 lap mid-way through the race but Halliday defended then dipped into the 58s himself on lap 10 (of 12).
That gave him some breathing space across the finishing line but Baird was back on his bumper - literally - on the eleventh lap, a move which would ultimately cost him dearly.
As he accelerated away from the hairpin steam started billowing out from underneath his car and Baird's race was run.
Having endured a tough season which started well but had its fair share of drama and heartache Halliday said after the race that the win was just what he needed.
"Yes, it was a great race and good to win in a Placemakers car at a Placemakers meeting in front of all the Placemakers people. I was disappointed not to win yesterday after a small mistake of my own but to get the win in front of all these people today was fantastic."
Though Baird did get ominously close Halliday said that he was always confident he could win and that he hadn't been particularly concerned how close his rival got.
"It's always difficult to pass round here, so once I got into the lead I knew that as long as I didn't make a mistake I had it in the bag.
With Baird out of the equation second across the line was round guest driver Jim Richards, third Queenslander Charlie O'Brien and fourth Tim Martin.
There was early drama just behind Halliday, Baird and Richards on the first lap when impressive race one performer Andrew Bagnall and Dean Fulford tangled, but both were able to continue, Bagnall working his way back to eighth place, Fulford to tenth.
Not so lucky was long-time Tag Heuer Challenge (for drivers 35 years and over) points leader Ross Rutherford.
After setting the third fastest lap time in qualifying on Friday he looked set to finish the season on a high note but his trouble started in the first race on Saturday after contact with another driver and an eventual dnf, then continued today with clutch master cylinder failure on the warm up lap.
All was not lost however as the 36-year-old Christchurch-born, now Hamilton-based businessman/racing driver retained both his hard-won third place in the overall series points standings and his lead in the Tag Heuer Challenge.
Fourth overall and second in the Tag Heuer Challenge stakes was Aucklander Fulford, fifth overall Paul Kelly, and sixth fellow Christchurch driver Angus McFarlane.
McFarlane also finished third in the Tag Heuer Challenge in front of Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Series rookie Michael Morton and fellow Aucklander Dean Cockerton.
In Saturday's race pole man Craig Baird made it Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Series win number 14 leading home Halliday, Richards, Auckland businessman/racer Andrew Bagnall and impressive young gun Tim Martin.
After eight rounds at six different circuits round the country this season's Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Series has proved to be a real crowd pleaser. An indication of its strength and appeal - to drivers and spectators alike - is the fact the organisers had a pool of 27 drivers to call on, including four from Australia and one - Darryll O'Young who competed in the 'high summer' events - from Hong Kong.
<pre> 2004/05 Battery Town New Zealand Porsche GT3 Cup Series Rnd 8 (Final) Placemakers V8 Supercar meeting Pukekohe Park Raceway Pukekohe New Zealand April 15/16/17 2005
Race 2 1. Halliday 11.56.750 2. Richards +10.448 3. O'Brien +20.092 4. Martin +21.066 5. Cockerton +23.101 6. McKay +33.312 7. Kelly +36.382 8. Bagnall +37.601 9. McFarlane +41.684 10. Fulford +45.891 11. Gordon +53.585 12. Mackrell +1 lap 13. Morton +1 lap DNF Baird DNF Cameron DNF O'Donnell DNF Rutherford
2004/05 Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Series (Individual points standings after Rnd 7 of 8)
1. Craig Baird Aus 1444 2. Matt Halliday NZ 1301 3. Ross Rutherford NZ 1092 4. Dean Fulford NZ 1045 5. Paul Kelly NZ 830 6. Angus McFarlane NZ 713 7. Dean Cockerton NZ 677 8. Rick Armstrong NZ 660 9. Mike Morton NZ 582 10. Graeme Cameron NZ 571 11. Andrew Bagnall NZ 552 12. Darryl O'Young HK 454 13. Rhys McKay NZ 452 14. Grant Dalton NZ 449 15. Mike Weeks NZ 423 16. Scott O'Donnell NZ 409 17. Bryce Washington Aus 380 18. Shane Mckillen NZ 260 19. Klark Quinn Aus 148 20. Jim Richards Aus 127 21. Tim Martin NZ 103 22. Charlie O'Brien Aus 97 23. Jonathan Webb Aus 88 24. Jamie Peters NZ 61 25. Nick Gordon NZ 54 26. David Mackrell NZ 48
Tag Heuer Carrera Challenge (for drivers 35 years of age and over)
1. Ross Rutherford 1351 2. Dean Fulford 1301 3. Angus McFarlane 987 4. Mike Morton 895 5. Dean Cockerton 891 6. Rick Armstrong 856 7. Graeme Cameron 794 8. Andrew Bagnall 743 9. Grant Dalton 626 10. Scott O'Donnell 562 11. Mike Weeks 534 12. Shane McKillen 355