V8S

NZ Utes: Series Christchurch race 1 report

LOBB LANDS ANOTHER VICTORY Championship leader Caine Lobb, 'The Ginja Ninja', stayed out of trouble throughout an action packed race to extend his championship lead in the opening race of the ENZED V8 Ute Challenge at Powerbuilt Tools Raceway ...

LOBB LANDS ANOTHER VICTORY

Championship leader Caine Lobb, 'The Ginja Ninja', stayed out of trouble throughout an action packed race to extend his championship lead in the opening race of the ENZED V8 Ute Challenge at Powerbuilt Tools Raceway in Christchurch today.

Lobb, who had started seventh on the grid in his Mark Cromie Holden, emerged from the first corner of the race in second place behind defending champion Chris Pither, 'The Gypsy', after a huge incident spoiled the race for several drivers. Pither was out of the race soon after leaving Lobb to cruise to a comfortable win, his third from four races to date.

Pither had been fastest in qualifying, .508 of a second faster than Lobb with local driver Simon 'Jnr Burner' Beirne third. While qualifying counts for series points, grid positions for the race were decided by marble draw and it was series debutant Mike 'T Bone' Morton on pole in his Falcon with fellow Aucklander James 'Huggi' Urquhart alongside in a Holden. Pither was third in his Gallagher XR8 Falcon followed by Geoff Spencer of Palmerston North. Lobb was seventh and Beirne thirteenth in his Team McDonald's Ford.

Pither blasted into the lead off the line but behind him all hell broke loose. Descriptions of the incident varied but as the field streamed out of the corner Pither led from Lobb with experienced Australian Rob 'The Captain' Jarvis third and Beirne all the way from the rear of the grid fourth. Not so fortunate were Morton, Spencer, Urquhart and Graham 'Snr Burner' Beirne who were all affected to varying degrees, Morton and Urquhart both paying a visit to the pits. Mike 'Buzz' Lightfoot spun later during the opening lap before the race finally settled down with Pither and Lobb at the front.

Pither was gone on the third lap however, a broken tailshaft the culprit. That left Lobb in a good lead while behind him Jarvis and 'Jnr Burner' were disputing second place. Beirne was through on the fourth lap, impressive rookie Chris Hanley of Auckland taking his Holden past Jarvis a lap later. However Lobb had the race well under control and crossed the line ahead of Beirne, Hanley and Jarvis. Another series newcomer 'Precious' Scott McKelvie was fifth with former BNT V8s competitor Dave 'The Boss' Stewart sixth. Lightfoot recovered to seventh after his spin. . Lobb was understandably pleased after the race. "It was close at the first corner. There were two or three utes sideways. I hung back and drove through. Once I got into the lead I was able to save my tyres."

Simon Beirne too was rapt, avoiding the first corner incident and bagging good points from his lowly grid position. Hanley also got through the carnage without incident, very pleased with his first outing at the Canterbury track.

Meanwhile Pither was obviously disappointed. After a tough run at the opening round at Pukekohe three weeks ago his luck did not improve today.

Tomorrow the ENZED V8 Ute Challenge competitors face an 8 lap race from a reverse of today's marble draw grid at 10.45am followed by their finale over 12 laps at 2.10pm.

The category enjoys the support of ENZED, UDC Finance, Radio Hauraki, Yokohama, Castrol, Citizen Watches, Exedy and Armorall.

-source: v8utes.co.nz

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Series V8S
Drivers Chris Pither