STAKES HIGH AT GTRNZ SERIES FINALE The stakes have been raised for the final round of the GTRNZ Series at the Taupo Motorsport Park this weekend. Every round of the series has produced excitement by the bucketload and to add more edge this ...
STAKES HIGH AT GTRNZ SERIES FINALE
The stakes have been raised for the final round of the GTRNZ Series at the Taupo Motorsport Park this weekend.
Every round of the series has produced excitement by the bucketload and to add more edge this weekend it is a double points round. That extends to qualifying where points will also be awarded providing three timed laps are recorded. Another bumper entry has been received for the finale and more earth shaking, exciting racing is assured.
GTRNZ has produced some of the best motor racing of the summer and this weekends final round sees more new faces plus several others who are returning to the series after timeout to carry out modifications to their vehicles.
Grant Brennan of Tauranga has a commanding, but not unassailable, lead in the GT1 category. Brennan has been the pacesetter for the bulk of the season in his Brennan SB2 Corvette but with double points at stake he will still have to be wary this weekend.
The battle for second and third behind him is close with Palmerston North driver Cameron Jones in his rotary powered Camaro and John Rae of New Plymouth in his C5 Chev Corvette scrapping it out for the remaining podium spots. Behind them Mark Burgess of Wellington in his turbo Mazda RX7, Tim Rooney of Papamoa (Ford Mustang), Taurangas Andy Greenslade in a Chev Corvette and Dayne Running of Drury in his ex-Petch Corvette are all in close company on the points table.
Tony Stewart of Wellington returns to GT1 with his turbocharged Mazda RX7, his turbo problems now resolved.
Aucklanders Craig Corliss in a Ford Falcon AU V8 Supercar and Wayne Conder in his Chev Camaro will fight it out for GT2 Class honours. Both are fast and consistent, demonstrated by their efforts last time out at Manfeild. There Corliss took pole position and won the first two races while Conder won the other race and also set a new GT2 lap record.
Conal Dempsey of Auckland is currently third in the points having stepped up from NZGT to GT2 with a bigger engine in his Porsche 964RS while Tauranga driver Brian Gray has also been prominent in his quad rotor Mazda RX7. Te Puke driver Peter Stewart returns to the series with his MKV Cortina Chev fitted with an injected small block powerplant while Mike Thomson who was the overall NZGT winner last year has his Nissan Skyline in the GT2 Class.
Once again this weekend the NZGT grid is massive with several new competitors joining the fray. This class more than any other seems to constantly throw up different podiums at every round.
Coming to the last round New Plymouth driver Brent Lander has a slender championship lead in his Mitsubishi EVO over Aucklands Andre Cowan in his ex-Craig Baird, Jason Richards BMW 325. Stephen Brown-Thomas of Waitara in a Subaru WRX and Brent Dickson from Kawerau in a Falcon are also among the leaders in this class. Meanwhile Jon Telford of Dannevirke in his Lexus powered Mitsubishi GTO will be looking to repeat his Manfeild success where he won two of the three races. Brock Cooley of Wellington in an EVO is another sure to be prominent.
New competitors in NZGT include Reece Killingback with a Hillman Imp fitted with a 2000cc turbo engine, Richard Grainger in a Mitsubishi EVO and Ron Findlay in a Ford Capri Perana Replica fitted with a 302 Windsor engine. Greg Holden of Auckland is another who returns in a Falcon XA Coupe.
One of the secrets of the success of the class on track and the reason for the large number of competitors registered for the series is that it is a class with few rules and regulations where people can exercise their creativity. That creativity is demonstrated by the huge variety of super quick machinery that graces the grids of the GTRNZ Series in all three categories at each round.
GTRNZ will compete as part of the IRC Summer Of Thunder Tour, at the Easter Thunder meeting at Taupo.