FHOLDEN: NRC Racing on the pace in Pukekohe practice

NRC Racing has completed a valuable day's testing prior to the 2000 Tasman Express New Zealand Grand Prix this Sunday at Auckland's Pukekohe circuit. Held in overcast but warm conditions, the test day saw all fifteen Formula Holden drivers taking...

NRC Racing has completed a valuable day's testing prior to the 2000 Tasman Express New Zealand Grand Prix this Sunday at Auckland's Pukekohe circuit. Held in overcast but warm conditions, the test day saw all fifteen Formula Holden drivers taking part.

The fast 2.9 kilometre circuit finds drivers Kiwi drivers Andy Booth in the Propecia NRC Reynard 95D and Matthew Halliday in the Turners Auctions / Empower NRC Reynard 95D setting average speeds of over 196kph and top speeds of 260kp - using full throttle for more than half of each lap according to the data gleaned from the NRC Racing Motec data logging systems today.

The morning session at 10:30m saw Halliday placed second with a 55.4 second lap to countryman Simon Wills (54.23s), with NRC Racing driver and Denny Hulme Memorial Trophy race winner Andy Booth third with his fastest lap of 54.7 seconds.

The second test session at 1:00pm saw Hamilton driver Booth place his Propecia / NRC Reynard 95D second overall with his much improved 53.973 second lap. This was 0.678s behind Wills fastest time of 53.295s - these the only two drivers in the field to set 53 second laps. For Halliday the session was difficult, the car suffering from a fuel mixture problem which despite the Auckland driver's best efforts, could not produce the speed to top the timesheets. His fastest lap of 55.487s / 7th overall was not indicative of his ability and it was a frustrating session for the 21 year old.

The third session at 3:40pm saw both drivers improve again with Andy Booth setting the second fastest time of 53.618s, 5/10ths of a second behind Simon Wills (53.900s), while Matthew Halliday gained over one second from the previous session with a 53.964s lap, placing him fourth overall behind Leroy Stevenson (53.704s) and ahead of Australian driver Paul Dumbrell (53.964s).

The top five drivers were separated by 1.1 seconds displaying how competitive the top end of the Formula Holden field will be during Sunday's two races at this super fast circuit.

"It has been a great day - I am happy to be on the pace, but it is frustrating to remain behind Simon Wills each time that we make a significant step forward. I have no doubt that Wills was fully committed to set his fastest time of the day, whereas I am confident that I have something in reserve for qualifying tomorrow. The Propecia /NRC Reynard 95D has been great all day, all of the changes made by my engineer Matthew Boniface were steps in the right direction," Andy Booth said.

For Matthew Halliday the final session improvement was vital in order for the team to be on the pace for tomorrow's (Saturday) two qualifying sessions.

"We still have to find five or six tenths of a second down the straights to be where we need to be. The team will be working hard to find out where we can make some gains for qualifying. It has been a frustrating day for me but bit by bit we are reducing the gap. The car feels excellent and if we gain some more speed it will be a weapon for Sunday's two races" The Turner Auctions / Empower sponsored driver said.

NRC Racing returns to the fast Pukekohec circuit tomorrow at 11:00am and 2:40pm for two qualifying sessions. These will determine the starting grid positions for Sunday's opening 28 lap Tasman Cup race, along with the grid positions for the 40 lap Tasman Express New Zealand Grand Prix.

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Matthew Halliday , Denny Hulme , Simon Wills , Paul Dumbrell , Andy Booth