Kiwi Vander Drift wins first Senior title in New Zealand

Following on from his success in the Junior ranks, 16 year old Hamilton based kart driver, Chris Vander Drift, gained his first senior grade National Championship title by winning the Senior Yamaha Light class at the New Zealand National Dirt ...

Following on from his success in the Junior ranks, 16 year old Hamilton based kart driver, Chris Vander Drift, gained his first senior grade National Championship title by winning the Senior Yamaha Light class at the New Zealand National Dirt Championships held at Rotorua on Saturday 23 November 2002. This adds to the five National titles that Chris won in the junior ranks.

Chris finished heat one in 4th place, having moved up consistently from his Grid position of 8.

Some changes to chassis setup after the heat resulted in 1st place finishes in heats 2 & 3 and a second place finish in heat 4, albeit from a rear grid start position. These results placed him on pole for the all important Final. Chris only needed to finish in second place in the Final behind pole taker, Rotorua's Terry Corin, to take out the national title. He decided to play it safe and stay with the strategy, eventually finishing a close second to Corin.

This title topped off another successful season for Chris, having taking out the North Island Sprint championship in the Senior Yamaha Light class at the Hamilton circuit (sealed surface) over Labour Weekend. He achieved this in great style, with a clean sweep of four wins in the first four heats. With an unassailable points tally Chris didn't need to compete in Heat 5 as the title was his. This brought his tally of North Island titles to six.

Chris also competed in Senior National class, starting the day well with heat finishes of 2nd, 1st and 1st. However in Heat 4 a thrown chain resulted in a DNF. A strong overall placing was still possible depending on the 5th heat result. However this was not to be as a brake disc damaged in the previous heat forced Chris to retire.

Chris' next major outing is at the Auckland City of Sails event to be held in January at the Auckland Kart Clubs track at Rosebank Road, Avondale.

Chris is now looking to 2003 where his aspirations are to progress his motorsport career, the most likely move being into Formula Ford. However his plans are being hampered by financial constraints rather than ability and the team is looking for support to allow his natural career progression to continue.

-www.vandymotorsport.com

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