Twilight Enduro For Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Drivers This weekend's round of the 2004/05 Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup series at Invercargill's Teretonga Park features something different for drivers and race fans alike - a 50 minute twilight...
Twilight Enduro For Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Drivers
This weekend's round of the 2004/05 Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup series at Invercargill's Teretonga Park features something different for drivers and race fans alike - a 50 minute twilight enduro race on Saturday evening.
A twilight race at Teretonga Park, taking advantage of the extra daylight the country's southern-most city enjoys at this time of the year, was perhaps the most popular innovation of last season's inaugural Porsche GT3 Cup series and this weekend's race has been eagerly anticipated.
As to how the drivers are going to approach it, two-time Timaru round race winner Ross Rutherford says conservatively is probably going to be the way to go.
"I'll be looking to qualify well obviously, but in the race I will be concentrating on smooth lines and looking after my tyres," he said today.
Australian team captain (for the Trans-Tasman Cup series-within-a-series) Craig Baird won last season's Teretonga Park twilight enduro after eventual series winner Jim Richards had to pit early for a new right rear tyre and New Zealand team captain Matt Halliday was slowed after contact with hard-charging Australian driver Charlie O'Brien.
Baird and Halliday were in the wars themselves at Timaru International Raceway last weekend, the pair falling foul of a tyre regulation after contact in Sunday's first race.
That left the way open for Hamilton businessman/racer Ross Rutherford to take over the mantle of 'man to beat,' winning both races on Sunday and heading south with a 59-point lead in the championship points standings.
Baird and Halliday remain in second and third positions respectively overall with 481 points each but only 17 points back is the other big improver of the Timaru weekend, Auckland businessman/racer Dean Fulford.
Fulford, in his first season in a GT3 Cup car after several years driving a fire-breathing 800hp turbocharged Porsche Le Mans GT Turbo with Lighting Direct teammates Bill Fulford (his father) and Owen Evans, qualified fifth and had a best race finish of second to Rutherford in the second race.
In the Tag Heuer Carrera Challenge, for drivers 35 years of age and over, Ross Rutherford remains the pacesetter, with Fulford second followed by Aucklander Mike Weeks and Christchurch's Rick Armstrong.
Local interest in the Battery Town Porsche GT3 races this weekend will be centered on Invercargill man Scott O'Donnell who is currently lying ninth overall in the points.
O'Donnell is part of a 'battle-pack' of at least six drivers who fight over the placings in the mid-field. Competition for him is expected to come from Christchurch drivers Angus McFarlane and Paul Kelly, and Aucklanders Grant Dalton, Shane McKillen and Dean Cockerton.
Saturday's 50 minute twilight endurance race is expected to start around 8.00pm on Saturday evening. There will also be two shorter races for the Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup cars on Sunday, one 10 lap race in the morning and a 16 lap one in the afternoon.
Also on the programme this weekend is the two-race New Zealand Grand Prix for Formula Ford drivers, plus further rounds of the Parker ENZED New Zealand V8 Touring Car championship and the new Toyota Racing Series 'wings-and-slicks' single-seater category.