GTRNZ TURNS ON THE ACTION AGAIN
Defending NZV8 Champion Kayne Scott of Hamilton made a winning debut in the GTRNZ category when he won the opening race of Round 4 of the series at Pukekohe Park Raceway, south of Auckland today.
Racing in the GT1 class, Scott blasted into pole position in qualifying with a lap of 55.278 seconds in the new Derin Greenslade Jaguar he is driving this weekend. The time was 1.830 seconds quicker than that of defending champion and current series points leader, Grant Brennan of Tauranga in his Brennan SB2 Corvette. Dayne Running of Drury was third fastest in his Corvette ahead of the similar car of another Tauranga driver, Andy Greenslade. Aucklander Nick Chester set the fifth fastest time before blowing his engine in his spectacular Holden Commodore Supercar, taking no further part in the day. Palmerston North driver Cameron Jones in his turbocharged, rotary powered Camaro was sixth fastest.
Once again this exciting class provided a tremendous spectacle when racing got underway this afternoon. The early stages of todays opening race saw Scott and Brennan involved in a huge battle over the early laps. The duo had a magnificent dice, their big V8s running side by side at times at the head of the field but it all ended when Brennan had problems with the left rear hub on the Corvette. Brennan was aware of a problem but did not know exactly what it was. However exiting the hairpin on lap 8 the car pitched sideways into the armco barrier, bouncing across the circuit and into the barrier on the other side of the track. Brennans race ended on the spot but a new GT1 lap record of 55.619 seconds was some consolation.
The race was red flagged after 9 laps due to several cars in trouble around the circuit, Scott sealing victory from Running who had encountered gearbox problems with Andy Greenslade third. Calven Bonney brought his Holden Monaro home in fourth ahead of Tim Rooney, Mark Burgess and Jones who struggled home with engine problems two laps down.
Brennan hopes to be back on track tomorrow while Jones is fitting a new engine to his car overnight.
The GT2 battle began with Harry Dodson of Auckland taking pole position in his Nissan Skyline ahead of GT2 series leader Craig Corliss in his Falcon V8 Supercar and another Aucklander Wayne Conder in a Chev Camaro.
Dodson was an early casualty in the race while Corliss spun after 6 laps and could not resume. Conder came through to win from Russell Due of Feilding in another Camaro and Brian Gray of Tauranga in his Mazda RX7.
Andre Cowan of Auckland qualified on pole for the NZGT race in his BMW 325i. However it was as close as ever in the massive NZGT field with the first six competitors covered by just 1.073 seconds. Taupo's Glenn Clarke was just .500 of a second behind Cowan in his Ford Falcon BA while Geoff Clarkson of Papakura (Nissan Skyline), Kevin Hyde of Whenuapai (BMW M3), David Brennan of Tauranga (Nissan Cefiro) and NZGT series points leader Brent Lander of New Plymouth in his Mitsubishi EVO were all right on the pace.
The race began with another epic battle between Hyde, Clarke and Cowan. Unfortunately both Clarke and Cowan succumbed to problems, Clarke on lap 3 and Cowan on lap 7. That left Hyde to take victory with Clarkson bringing his Nissan home in second position. Lander made it through to third with John Garty of Auckland in a Porsche 964 fourth ahead of Brent Dickson of Kawerau in his Falcon and Dannevirke's John Telford in a Mitsubishi GTO.
Prominent drivers in the series, Stephen Brown-Thomas, Brock Cooley and David Brennan, all failed to finish.
Tomorrow each class will contest two more races, the GT1 and GT2 cars running together while the large contingent of NZGT cars will have their own race. GTRNZ is racing at Pukekohe this weekend as part of the IRC Summer Of Thunder Tour 'Mid-Summer Thunder'.