GTRNZ WARFARE RETURNS TO MANFEILD Modern day warfare returns to Manfeild, the 3.03 kilometre motor racing circuit in Feilding, this weekend. The GTRNZ category of big banger and highly modified saloons take to the Manawatu track to continue on...
GTRNZ WARFARE RETURNS TO MANFEILD
Modern day warfare returns to Manfeild, the 3.03 kilometre motor racing circuit in Feilding, this weekend. The GTRNZ category of big banger and highly modified saloons take to the Manawatu track to continue on from where they left off in January. On that occasion GT1 Class pacesetter Grant Brennan of Tauranga described one of his battles with New Plymouth driver John Rae "like going to war."
Brennan and Rae fought it out wheel to wheel on that occasion as Brennan took two race wins to Rae's one. The racing was spectacular as the duo fought tooth and nail, Brennan in his Brennan SB2 Corvette and Rae in his C5 Corvette. Both return this weekend and adding an exciting edge to the contest is the fact that this is the penultimate round of the inaugural GTRNZ Championship. Brennan has opened up a lead in the GT1 Class but behind him Palmerston North driver Cameron Jones in his rotary powered Chev Camaro is in a tight points battle with Rae.
Brennan did a superb job last time out at Pukekohe to recover from a crash caused by a mechanical problem in the first race to battle with Kayne Scott throughout the round. The team has not had time to repaint the car since that round just two weeks ago, the orange Corvette described by the team as the "orange roughy" for the time being.
Jones, very competitive the last time the series visited Manfeild, will be keen to record a good result on his home track after suffering ongoing engine problems at Pukekohe while Rae missed the last round and is looking forward to getting back on track this weekend. Meanwhile Tim Rooney of Tauranga in his Mustang and Wellington competitors Mark Burgess and Tony Stewart in turbocharged rotary powered Mazda RX7s will also be prominent.
GT2 Class points leader Craig Corliss of Auckland will be looking for another consistent point scoring round in his Ford Falcon AU V8 Supercar this weekend. Any problems would open the way for Wayne Conder of Auckland to close the gap in his Chev Camaro before the final round at Taupo at Easter. Both had success the last time the series visited this track but on that occasion it was Brian Gray of Tauranga won two of the three races in his Mazda RX7. Gray lines up again this weekend while Conal Dempsey of Whitford in his Porsche 964RS will be another to watch having been promoted from the NZGT field. Kester Olivercrona of Feilding did a fine job last time out on his home track while another local driver, Russell Due, may still appear in his Chev Camaro after his car was damaged at Pukekohe.
The NZGT races will again feature a startling array of machinery in a class still ultra-close with just two rounds to go. Brent Lander of New Plymouth has the points lead in his EVO but it is tight. Andre Cowan of Auckland in a BMW 325i is just 33 points behind while the round winner on the series last visit to Manfeild, Stephen Brown-Thomas of New Plymouth, is a close third.
Others who could be to the fore include Malcolm Glen of Wellington in his Nissan powered Anglia, Brock Cooley in an EVO, Brent Dickson of Kawerau in his AU Falcon, Brett Harris in his Nissan Skyline and veteran Waitara driver Ross Calgher. Another local, Tony Satherly of Whakaronga in Palmerston North, is another potential entry in NZGT.
While several competitors will be absent this weekend due to some of the incidents at an action packed round at Pukekohe just two weeks ago the GT1/GT2 line up is still one of quality while a large field will take to the grid for the NZGT races.
Once again qualifying will take place on Saturday with the first race later that afternoon. Two further races for each class will take place on Sunday.
GTRNZ will be part of the IRC Summer Of Thunder Tour, Thunder In The Dark II meeting this weekend.