New Zealand CRC Manfeild Report 98-11-22

November 22, 1998 ROTORUA racing driver Paul Pedersen shrugged off the challenge of new rival drivers and controversial new V8 Touring Cars in today's opening round of the CRC Motor Race Series at Manfeild - carrying on where he left off in...

November 22, 1998

ROTORUA racing driver Paul Pedersen shrugged off the challenge of new rival drivers and controversial new V8 Touring Cars in today's opening round of the CRC Motor Race Series at Manfeild - carrying on where he left off in the winter series?winning.

Pedersen, just beginning his fourth season of motor racing, was tentative about his chances in the Dunlop V8 Tourer Championship coming into today's two races - concerned about the abilities of well-experienced racers like Mark Pedersen, Ashley Stichbury, Gary Ridden and Greg Brinck.

And with the unknown quantity of two Ford Falcons arriving in the midst of what has been an all-Holden class.

But the the highly-professional Pedersen effort proved itself THE class act of the meeting, claiming fastest time in qualifying and winning today's two races.

Pedersen cleared out from the opposition in his Holden Commodore in each of the 10-lappers on the reverse-direction Manfeild circuit - with Aucklander Mark Pedersen a lonely second in the first race, ahead of a big fight for third between Falcon driver Dennis Running, Wellington's Andrew Fawcet and Stichbury. Fawcet claimed the place in his Holden.

Pedersen was even good enough to reclaim the lead after confusion reigned at the start of the second race. The field returned to the startline after an aborted start - half of the drivers caught out as the light turned green. Stichbury though was ready for it and sprinted into the lead.

On the second lap Pedersen dived under the Stichbury Commodore in the Esses and eased away to his second win - leaving behind a battle for the minor placings. After Stichbury retired with engine problems, Fawcet, David Barton and Pedersen fought over it, Fawcet prevailing over Mark Pedersen. Fears of a Falcon cleanup didn't eventuate - Running doing best with 4th and 5th placings, while Ridden struggled with his brand-new Ford: He retired from the first race and had to settle for 7th in the next.

Four years after he broke both legs in a crash on the Wellington street circuit, young Palmerston North driver Brady Kennett came back to top form - fighting hard for his first-ever national championship win in the class on Saturday.

And then he backed that up with two hard-fought second places in today's FF1600 Championship races, to take the lead in the championship standings.

Kennett was dominant on Saturday and looked like repeating that in today's first race, but he was overtaken in the mid-stages and got caught up in a dogfight with veteran Kenny Smith, young Aucklander Daynom Templeman and Phil Hellebrekers, a man giving the Australian Spectrum chassis its first NZ run. Templeman put his Swift across the line first, with Kennett, Smith and young rookie Nicholas Ross next.

Hellebrekers and the Spectrum delivered on the new car's promise in the third race - Kennett again taking the lead from pole-sitter Simon Gamble early on, only to be picked off by Hellebrekers with two laps to go. A tangle at the hairpin saw Gamble spin off and Templeman retire with a broken suspension.

BMW young gun Jason Richards did this weekend what he set out to do at Manfeild's NZ Touring Car Championship opener a year ago: Dominate the class and get his title campaign off to a good start.

After a clearcut win on Saturday over new team-mate Barrie Thomlinson, Richards led all the way in today's first race, but had to track Thomlinson after he got a flier at the start of the finale - with its reverse-grid order for the top 6.

Thomlinson succumbed to Richards' attentions at the end of the second lap and they finished in that order. With Ford Telstar driver Geoff Short retiring from today's first race, the other podium finishes today went to young BMW driver Aaron Harris ahead of fellow-rookie Peter Butler (Telstar).

Owen Evans made a late arrival at the meeting - and in the first Grand Tourer series race?.and still managed to take the victory in his awesome Porsche Le Mans GT.

He had to power through the field from a pitlane start, take a stop-go penalty - and still beat Ferrari driver Stu McCondach to the finish. McCondach had his revenge though in the finale - Evans overtaking him on the last lap?only to have officials concede the race had run a lap too long and declare the results at the correct point.

CRC Motor Race Series - Round One, Manfeild - November 22:

Dunlop V8 Touring Cars -

Race 1: Paul Pedersen (Holden Commodore), 1; Andrew Fawcet (Commodore), 2; Mark Pedersen (Commodore), 3; Greg Brinck (Commodore), 4; Dennis Running (Ford Falcon), 5; Brett Morgan (Commodore), 6.

Race 2: Paul Pedersen, 1; Mark Pedersen, 2; Fawcet, 3; Running, 4; Ashley Stichbury (Commodore), 5; Brinck, 6. Dunlop V8 Tourer

Championship points: Paul Pedersen, 40, 1; Mark Pedersen and Fawcet, 27 points, equal 2; Running, 18, 4; Brinck, 16, 5; Brett Morgan (Holden Commodore), 10, 6.

CRC NZ Touring Car Championship -

Race 1: Jason Richards (BMW 320i), 1; Barrie Thomlinson (BMW 320i), 2; Geoff Short (Ford Telstar), 3; Aaron Harris (BMW 325i), 4; Peter Butler (Ford Telstar), 5; Murray Poot (Honda Civic 1600), 6.

Race 2: Richards, 1; Thomlinson, 2; Harris, 3; Butler, 4; Wayne Johnson (Honda Integra), 5; Poot, 6.

Race 3 (reverse grid top 6): Richards, 1; Thomlinson, 2; Harris, 3; Butler, 4; Johnson, 5; Poot, 6.

CRC NZ Championship points: Richards, 60, 1; Thomlinson, 45, 2; Harris, 34, 3; Butler, 28, 4; Poot, 18, 5; Johnson, 16, 6.

FF1600 NZ Championship -

Race 1: Brady Kennett (Van Diemen), 1; Daynom Templeman (Swift), 2; Kenny Smith (Van Diemen), 3; Matthew Halliday (Van Diemen), 4; Rob Henderson (Van Diemen), 5; Nicholas Ross (Van Diemen), 6.

Race 2: Templeman, 1; Kennett, 2; Smith, 3; Ross, 4; Phil Hellebrekers (Spectrum), 5; Rob Henderson (Van Diemen), 6. Race 3: Hellebrekers, 1; Kennett, 2; Smith, 3; Leroy Stevenson (Van Diemen), 4; Ross, 5; Henderson,

6. FF1600 Championship points: Kennett, 50, 1; Smith, 36, 2; Templeman. 35, 3; Hellebrekers, 28, 4; Ross, 24, 5; Henderson, 20, 6. Grand Touring Car Series - Race 1: Paul Higgins (Porsche 911 RS), 1; Stu McCondach (Ferrari 308 GTB), 2; Andrew Bagnall (Porsche Carrera 911), 3.

Race 2: Owen Evans (Porsche 911 Le Mans GT), 1; McCondach, 2; Bagnall, 3. Race 3 (with SS2000): McCondach, 1; Paul Torckler (Holden Commodore VL), 2; Higgins, 3.

Bridgestone Formula First NZ Championship - Race 1: Matthew Farmer (Saurus), 1; Dom Kalasih (Saturn), 2; Nick Luxford (Challenge), 3. Race 2: Kalasih, 1; Farmer, 2; Luxford, 3. Race 3: Kalasih, 1; Farmer, 2; Luxford, 3.

Bridgestone Formula First Championship points: Luxford, 208, 1; Kalasih, 147, 2; Farmer, 122, 3.

Bridgestone Tyres North Island HQ Holden Series -

Race 1: Martin Rowe, 1; Shane Wenzlick, 2; Graham Moffatt, 3.

Race 2: Bruce Kennedy, 1; Bruce O'Brien, 2; Moffatt, 3.

Race 3: Rowe, 1; Wenzlick, 2; Moffatt, 3.

Bridgestone Pre-65 Series -

Race 1: Linda Gray (Anglia), 1; Grant Sprague (Mustang), 2; Dean Perkins (Mustang), 3.

Race 2: Derek Mitchell (Chev Nova), 1; Ronnie van Zantvoort (Mustang), 2; Perkins, 3.

Toyo Tyres Pro-7 Series -

Race 1: Alan Belworthy, 1; Paul Hinton, 2; Ross Powell, 3.

Race 2: Hinton, 1; Powell, 2; Paul Savage, 3. Super-Mini Challenge -

Race 1: Jody Vincent, 1; Kevin Townsend, 2; Greg Gordon, 3. Race 2: Gordon, 1; Vincent, 2; Tom Ryan, 3.

SS2000 Series -

Race 1: Greg Kilworth (Mazda RX-7), 1; Brian Gray (RX-7), 2; Gavin Stewart (RX-7), 3.

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Series General
Drivers Matthew Halliday , Martin Rowe , Andrew Bagnall , Jason Richards , David Barton , Barrie Thomlinson , Aaron Harris , Wayne Johnson