NZ V8: Caltex Racing round six preview

CALTEX DRIVER CALLS FOR COMMON SENSE AT TAUPO THIS WEEKEND Caltex Racing Ford BA Falcon driver Paul Pedersen has called for all 32 V8 drivers competing at this weekend's penultimate round of the 2004/05 Parker ENZED New Zealand V8 Touring Car...

CALTEX DRIVER CALLS FOR COMMON SENSE AT TAUPO THIS WEEKEND

Caltex Racing Ford BA Falcon driver Paul Pedersen has called for all 32 V8 drivers competing at this weekend's penultimate round of the 2004/05 Parker ENZED New Zealand V8 Touring Car Championship at the Taupo Motor Racing Circuit to think about the consequences of their actions while they are out on the track.

Last season's Parker ENZED series round at the tight, technical 1.4 km Broadlands Rd/Centennial Drive circuit was marked by a number of ugly incidents, one of the worst - involving two of the class's top drivers in the first Parker ENZED race - prompting Motorsport New Zealand officials to convene a special meeting and give all the drivers a verbal dressing down before the second race.

Local hero Paul Pedersen knows the Taupo track well and agrees that with a capacity field of Parker ENZED series Falcons and Commodores space is always going to be at a premium. However he is adamant that races can be run and won without serious damage to cars, wallets and - heaven forbid - drivers.

"It's simple," he said this week."We all want to do well, but like the old saying goes, 'to finish first, first you have to finish.' I'm not saying that there should be any special rules about passing or anything, I'm just asking for a little bit of common sense. If there's a gap, take it, but if there isn't, don't think that it's your right to make it. If we all keep our brains engaged this weekend we will be fine. If we don't there's going to be trouble."

Caltex Havoline driver Pedersen, who lives in nearby Rotorua and has business interests a couple of kilometres west of the Taupo track, has had a particularly good run at his 'home' circuit since Parker ENZED got behind the New Zealand V8 Touring Car Championship two years ago.

In 2003 he completed one of New Zealand motorsport's few 'perfect weekends,' qualifying on pole, winning all three races and claiming a new class track lap record. Then last year he elevated himself from fourth to second equal in the points standings after qualifying on the second row of the grid and completing a 5-3-4 run through the races.

Caltex Racing teammate Angus Fogg, who drives the Caltex Vortex-backed Falcon, has also enjoyed success at the Taupo circuit, originally in his beloved Minis, then in the 2 Litre Touring Car championship.

Fogg, who built and is also responsible for engineering the two Caltex Racing Ford Falcons for entrant International Motorsport, has spent the past three weeks stripping, checking and fine-tuning the two Falcons and - bar similar reservations re driver conduct - is looking forward to the weekend.

The former Cambridge, now Auckland-based driver had one of his best meetings to date this season at the fifth round of the Parker ENZED series at Manfeild last month and though he is further back in terms of overall series points than Pedersen another good run this weekend could see him knocking on the top ten.

Pedersen slipped back a place in the overall points standings after Manfeild but there is still little in it between fifth placed Paul Manuell and eighth placed Pedersen and a good run this weekend, and/or at the final round of the 2004/05 championship series at the big Placemakers V8 Supercar meeting at Pukekohe Park in April, could see the Caltex man back amongst the key title prospects.

During this weekend's racing at the Taupo Motor Racing Circuit, the Parker ENZED NZ V8 touring cars compete in three races, all on Sunday, with official practice and qualifying sessions on Saturday. On-track action starts from 10:00am each day.

Event organiser, The MotorSport Company, launches a new NZ V8 competition sure to entertain fans at the circuit. It's a V8 driver slalom race pitting Holden drivers against Ford drivers. Each driver has to complete four slalom courses at different points of the track in one of their 'T-cars' (race car replicas) and the fastest team wins. The V8 slalom challenge takes place during the lunchtime break on Sunday.

Those heading to the circuit to enjoy the action can purchase tickets by calling the Taupo Motor Racing Circuit on (07) 378-6175. Adult weekend passes bought before 5:00 pm Friday 11 March are only $25. From the gate, a Saturday-only adult pass is $20 and a weekend or Sunday-only adult pass $30. Children under 14 years of age and accompanied by a paying adult are free.

Tickets can also be purchased from The MotorSport Company's 'Little Lorry' on Thursday and Friday before the event. The 'Little Lorry' will be parked outside Whitcoulls in the centre of Taupo from 10:00am to 3:00pm each day.

The Taupo round is the sixth round of both the Parker ENZED New Zealand V8 Touring Car Championship and the Mike Pero MotorSport Series. Both series have their final rounds at the Placemakers V8 International at Pukekohe on April 15, 16 and 17.

More information on the Parker ENZED NZ V8 Touring Car Championship and the Mike Pero MotorSport Series can be found on-line at www.nzv8touringcars.co.nz and www.motorsport.org.nz.

-cr/fc-

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