New Zealand CRC Results 98-11-29

CRC MOTOR RACE SERIES November 29, 1998 A SPECTACULAR wheel to wheel dice at 240km/h down Teretonga's front straight told the story of an intense contest between Kiwi motor racing stars Greg Murphy and Scott Dixon at today's second...

CRC MOTOR RACE SERIES

November 29, 1998 A SPECTACULAR wheel to wheel dice at 240km/h down Teretonga's front straight told the story of an intense contest between Kiwi motor racing stars Greg Murphy and Scott Dixon at today's second round of the CRC Motor Race Series.

The two Reynard Formula Holdens appeared to bang wheels two or three times at full speed as 18-year-old Dixon muscled his way past Murphy in the second of today's Tasman Express Formula Holden races.

Dixon appeared utterly determined to make up for Murphy's dominant win earlier in the opening race of the Tasman Express Series.

And he duly went on to make it a win apiece as the arch-rivals head for next Sunday's Tasman Express NZ Grand Prix at Ruapuna.

Murphy, 25, made his comeback to the 380 horsepower single-seater cars with an emphastic win in the opening 25-lapper - leading for all but the opening seconds.

It was widely expected that Murphy and Dixon - both determined to secure drives in next year's Indy Lights series in the United States - would be fiercely competitive. What was perhaps less expected was just how competitive a third Kiwi, Simon Wills, might be.

He was the only one to head Murphy in the series opener, taking a storming start off the line, only to arrive at the first corner too fast: "Both cars had a bit of a wobble and a step out," said Murphy.

"We both had a bit of a scare." And Murphy came out of it all better - gaining a gap that the frustrated Wills could not close: "I was just hoping a back-marker might get in his way."

He finished just over one second behind Murphy and 6s clear of Dixon, who lost ground mid-race when his engine went off-song.

Wills' Australian team-mate Brenton Ramsay finished fourth and Mercer rising star Jason Liefting fifth after top Austrian Formula 3 racer Robert Lechner spun his Reynard and dropped behind them.

Dixon, the reigning Australian Formula Holden, thrilled the big crowd when he relentlessly harassed Murphy for the opening six laps of the second race - finally gaining an inside line on Murphy's car at the Elbow after the leader slid a little wide on the previous corner.

Although Dixon insisted they hadn't actually touched, the pair tried to scare each other off as they ran side by side down the straight - Dixon going ahead to open up a 1s lead that stabilised throughout the 30-minute race.

"That thing of his is awfully quick - ad he's driving it very well," said Murphy later, before rushing off to fly to an Indy Lights test in the United States.

As a consolation Murphy had the last say in a record-breaking session that saw the best lap around Teretonga taken down 12 times by Murphy and Wills in the second race alone. His new record stands at 51.20s.

Murphy also took the Denny Hulme Trophy as the winner of this Tasman Express Formula Holden Series round, with 35 points to Dixon's 32 and Wills' 27.

Lechner walked away from a 200km/h crash at the hairpin, while team-mate Wouter van Eeuwijk made up for an earlier retirement with fourth place, ahead of Queensland-based Kiwi Chris Staff and Ramsay.

Last season's panel-banging battle between Craig Baird and Shane Drake fired up again in the second race of the Enzed TraNZam Championship - the pair colliding as they charged into the 200km/h corner off the main straight.

The spectacular actionbeganj when former speedway sprintcar champion Kerry Jones grabbed the lead in his Camaro, then used his OSCA-rules car's six-litre engine to stay ahead for a lap - losing places to Baird and Drake after contact with Baird at the hairpin.

Drake and Baird then clashed but the trio was still together as they braked for the high-speed Loop - Drake running into Baird's car and sending his Camaro spearing off into a sandtrap, while Jones spun his car up to avoid them.

Baird said Drake had "just tapped me in the rear and spun me off," while Drake insisted "he just came straight across on me. Maybe he didn't check his mirrors."

The race was stopped and at the re-start Drake lined up with his Camaro's smashed bonnet dragging on the track and one tyre - pulling into pitlane to have the debris removed, then rejoining to run through to fourth behind a victory for Christchurch Mustang driver Grant Silvester.

Baird, who had already won the championship opener from pole, won the finale as well, but Drake's three third places in the TraNZam 1 class sees him lead Silvester by one point and Baird by five in the Enzed Championship standings.

Kenny Smith claimed his first win in the FF1600 Championship in almost two years with a gutsy drive in the third of today's races - with Round One winner Brady Kennett and Southlander LeRoy Stevenson taking the other races.

Each, as usual in FF1600, was hard-fought - Smith, Stevenson, Matthew Halliday, Phil Hellebrekers and Daynom Templeman involved in the front-runners' fight.

CRC Motor Race Series - Round Two, Teretonga - November 29: Tasman Express Formula Holden Series - Race 1: Greg Murphy - NZ (Reynard 92D), 1; Simon Wills - NZ (Reynard 94D), 2; Scott Dixon - NZ (Reynard 92D), 3; Brenton Ramsay - Australia (Reynard 94D), 4; Jason Liefting - NZ (Reynard 92D), 5; Robert Lechner - Austria (Reynard 94D), 6. Race 2: Dixon, 1; Murphy, 2; Wills, 3; Wouter van Eeuwijk - Holland (Reynard 95D), 4; Chris Staff - Australia (Reynard 91), 5; Ramsay, 6. Denny Hulme Trophy - Tasman Express Series, Round 1: Murphy, 35, 1; Dixon, 32, 2; Wills, 27, 3; Ramsay, 16, 4; Staff, 12, 5; van Eeuwijk, 10, 6. Enzed NZ TraNZam Championship - Race 1: Craig Baird (Chev Camaro), 1; Sane Drake (Camaro), 2; Kerry Jones (Camaro), 3; Grant Silvester (Ford Mustang), 4; Peter Knight (Camaro), 5; Robin MacDonald (Ford Falcon), 6. Race 2: Silvester, 1; Knight, 2; MacDonald, 3; Drake, 4; Lawrence Knowler (Camaro), 5. Race 3 (reverse grid top 6): Baird, 1; Drake, 2; Jones, 3; Silvester, 4; Knight, 5; Knowler, 6. Enzed NZ TraNZam Championship points - Class 1: Drake, 45, 1; Silvester, 44, 2; Baird, 40, 3. Class 2: Knight, 50, 1; Jones, 40, 2; Knowler, 34, 3. FF1600 NZ Championship - Race 1: Brady Kennett (Van Diemen), 1; LeRoy Stevenson (Van Diemen), 2; Daynom Templeman (Swift), 3; Kenny Smith (Van Diemen), 4; Matthew Halliday (Van Diemen), 5; Simon Gamble (Van Diemen), 6. Race 2: Stevenson, 1; Halliday, 2; Smith, 3; Kennett, 4; Phil Hellebrekers (Spectrum), 5; Gamble, 6. Race 3: Smith, 1; Halliday, 2; Kennett, 3; Templeman, 4; Stevenson, 5; Nicholas Ross, 6. FF1600 Championship points: Kennett, 92, 1; Smith, 78, 2; Ross, 61, 3; Templeman, 57, 4; Halliday, 50, 5; Hellebrekers and Robert Henderson (Van Diemen), 36, 6.

Wayne Munro - waynemunro@xtra.co.nz

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