FHOLDEN: Wills extends gap at Pukekohne

Twenty-four-year-old Biranna driver Simon Wills made it four poles from four attempts during this afternoon's qualifying session for tomorrow's New Zealand Grand Prix at a sunny and hot Pukekohe. Wills, driving his twice championship and NZGP ...

Twenty-four-year-old Biranna driver Simon Wills made it four poles from four attempts during this afternoon's qualifying session for tomorrow's New Zealand Grand Prix at a sunny and hot Pukekohe. Wills, driving his twice championship and NZGP winning Reynard 94D, eclipsed his early morning time by 0.026s and captured pole by a whopping 0.751s over his Lighting Direct team mate LeRoy Stevenson. Invercargill based Stevenson was the big mover in second qualifying after his Birrana team rectified a persistent misfire between the sessions. Stevenson displaced Andy Booth (NRC Racing/ Propecia - Reynard 95D) late in the session and made it an all Birrana front row for tomorrow's prestigious 40 lap race for the New Zealand Motor Cup.

Matthew Halliday rounded off the fast quartet of flying Kiwi's in the second NRC entry, the Empower/ Turners machine still lacking straight-line speed and unable to hold off team mate Booth as the pair lapped closely together. The NRC outfit can count themselves lucky to have both cars back in one piece after Booth spun right in front of Halliday on his final flying lap while negotiating the Castrol Esses. The pair escaped unharmed, which cannot be said for Malibu based Emerson Newton-John, who was a victim of circumstance and had to avoid the hard-braking Halliday as the twenty-one-year-old Kiwi stood hard on the brakes to miss the gyrating Booth. The luckless Newton-John, who had been as high as third fastest at one point in the session after missing this morning's qualifying, locked up his front brakes and launched his Zap Health 92D machine into the unforgiving barriers while attempting to miss Halliday. He will line up in sixth grid spot behind another driver to execute a couple of spins, eighteen-year-old Paul Dumbrell, who was once again the highest placed Australian driver.

Steve Owen (Hocking Motorsport - Reynard 98D) all but matched his morning times to fill seventh, with Peter Hill (M ONE 11 - Reynard 95D) next fastest ahead of the second Hocking machine of Stuart Kostera, who missed the morning twenty-minute session - but nonetheless, recovered to set some competitive times. Roger Oakeshott claimed another worthy pole in the Silver Star class, finishing the session just 0.33s behind the younger and ex Formula Ford race winning Kostera. Fifteen cars will start tomorrow's preliminary race and behind Oakeshott will be Mark Ellis (Mantis Racing - Reynard 92D) - improving all the time, Terry Clearihan, Ian Peters, Dean Cockerton and Ian Lloyd. After the heartbreak of losing last week's Denny Hulme Memorial Trophy race due to a freakish seatbelt drama, Wills be out to make amends by securing his third successive Tasman Cup and New Zealand Grand Prix wins, and right now, he looks certain to bolt into the blue. <pre> Top Ten Qualifiers - Determines Grid For The Tasman Express New Zealand Grand Prix

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Fastest Gap On 1 Simon Wills Birrana Racing Reynard 94D 13 52.777 9 2 LeRoy Stevenson Birrana Racing Reynard 94D 21 53.528 -0.751 15 3 Andy Booth NRC Racing Reynard 95D 20 53.536 -0.759 11 4 Matthew Halliday NRC Racing Reynard 95D 21 53.943 -1.166 18 5 Paul Dumbrell Wynn's Racing Reynard 93D 19 54.013 -1.236 16 6 Emerson Newton-John Murphy Motorsport Reynard 92D 17 54.307 -1.530 16 7 Steve Owen Hocking Motorsport Reynard 97D 18 54.497 -1.720 14 8 Peter Hill Murphy Motorsport Reynard 95D 19 55.008 -2.231 19 9 Stuart Kostera Hocking Motorsport Reynard 97D 21 55.306 -2.529 16 10 Roger Oakeshott Sportsmed Racing Reynard 98D 20 55.634 -2.857 15

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Series Other open wheel
Drivers Matthew Halliday , Denny Hulme , Simon Wills , Steve Owen , Paul Dumbrell , Peter Hill , Mark Ellis , Stuart Kostera , Emerson Newton-John , Andy Booth , Dean Cockerton