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FORMULA HOLDENS Youngsters too good for Aussies Following hot on the heels of new Zealand driver success in touring cars and V8's in Australia two young New Zealand drivers are sending shockwaves through the Australian single seater motor racing...

FORMULA HOLDENS Youngsters too good for Aussies

Following hot on the heels of new Zealand driver success in touring cars and V8's in Australia two young New Zealand drivers are sending shockwaves through the Australian single seater motor racing scene.

Scott Dixon, the 17 year old driving sensation from Auckland who has won every major single seater title in New Zealand motorsport, is leading the Australian Drivers Championship and former British Formula 3 B Class Champion, 21 year old Simon Wills is starting to move up the points table.

Driving the 3.8 litre Formula Holden cars in the premiere single seater class, Dixon has a 28 point lead with just two rounds and four races to go. Simon Wills did not contest the early rounds of the championship but at the most recent meeting at Mailala in South Australia the two kiwis each scored a first and Dixon took a second in the two championship races to whitewash the Australian competitors.

Dixon puts their success down to the experience young New Zealand drivers gain competing against international drivers in the New Zealand summer Formula Ford series.

Many of the European and Soth American names now featuring in the major international Formulas have raced in New Zealand.

"The tightness of that racing prepare the kiwis well for Australian conditions." Simon Wills says. "The racing is always very close in qualifying because pole position is very important," he says. "The grids are tight, almost nose to tail, and that makes the first corner pretty important."

The next round of the Australian championship is at Calder Park in Victoria on June 21 with the final round at Oran Park near Sydney August 2.

ROD MILLEN GETS A NEW SET OF WHEELS FOR PIKES PEAK INTERNATIONAL HILL CLIMB

Rod Millen set to defend his sixth Pikes Peak International Hill Climb title to make him yet again King of the Mountain - "Millens Mountian" Kiwi born, USA resident Rod Millen will again contest the famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb at Manitou Springs, Colorado, USA on July fourth. To all Americans, July fourth marks the country's Independence Day and Rod Millen, King of the Mountain six times over, plans to make it a day motorsport worldwide will never forget.

Challenging him will be Sweden's Stig Blomqvist who is the European entrant in the hill climb and to date seems to be the biggest contestant to Millen's effort. It is Blomqvist's inaugral attempt at Pikes Peak and is set to campaign a 850bhp Graham Hathaway-built Ford RS200. The RS200 entry is reputed to do 0-60 in under two seconds and is out to contest the hill record and challenge Millen to be the first under the 10-minute barrier.

"Millen's Mountain" is a 14,110.ft climb up a 12.42-mile dirt road holding course of 156 turns, and he intends to break the hill record of 10:04.06 he set in a Toyota Celica GT in 1994. He is returning to the mountain this year with a, faster, more aerodynamic vehicle than ever before.

The team at Rod Millen Motorsport has been working day and night to design, engineer and construct the new Pennzoil/Toyota Tacoma Truck for this year's challenge. The Tacoma has been purpose built to not only defend Rod's title and take the unlimited class, but also break the 10-minute barrier that Millen's Team have been chasing for the past three years.

"We've got a great chance, weather permitting," said Millen. "In this year's Tacoma, we have been able to drop 200 kilograms of weight and engineer maximum horsepower."

The Rod Millen Motorsport team have been contesting this event for 13 years, and in that time they have gained much insight and experience into the road and weather conditions that dictate competitors' chances of taking the title.

"We have analysed all the data taken from the Pikes Peak Challenges in the past years and have built a new truck for the unlimited class," explained Millen. "We have engineered the steel-tube frame and ultra-lightweight carbon-fibre body for maximum performance."

The Pennzoil/Toyota Tacoma that Millen is bringing to Pike's Peak this year is a pickup truck built especially for this event. Its stressed-panel tube-frame chassis rides on a four-wheel independent suspension with pushrod and rocker actuated springs and dampers both front and rear and is driven by a full-time four-wheel drive system. A turbocharged in-line four cylinder engine powers the truck, and a full ground-effects body provides downforce and traction.

Millen's career spans both a rally and race background, having won three New Zealand Rally titles, two North American Race and Rally Championships, two SCCA Pro Rally titles, receiving top honours three times in SCCA National Rally Competition and three consecutive MTEG Stadium Racing titles. His most recent win was at the Race of Champions Rallysprint in Tokyo 1997 where he claimed first place over Italy's Miki Biassion and Finland's Marku Alen.

Rod Millen Motorsports' Pikes Peak Climb is supported by Pennzoil, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc, BFGoodrich Tires, Toyota Express Lube, No Fear, US CAD.

Tentative Race Week Schedule: Monday, June 29 Practice Day 1 Tuesday, June 30 Practice Day 2 Wednesday, July 1 Practice Day 3 Thursday, July 2 Practice Day 4 Friday, July 3 Media Day Saturday, July 4 76th Anniversary Pikes Peak

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Series General
Drivers Scott Dixon , Simon Wills , Rod Millen , Stig Blomqvist