LEVELS THROWS BIZZARE WEEKEND AT INTERNATIONAL MOTORSPORT It wasn't just the weather that that made for a challenging weekend at Timaru's Levels Raceway over the weekend. A medley of challenges was thrown to the International Motorsport...
LEVELS THROWS BIZZARE WEEKEND AT INTERNATIONAL MOTORSPORT
It wasn't just the weather that that made for a challenging weekend at Timaru's Levels Raceway over the weekend. A medley of challenges was thrown to the International Motorsport team, including the loss of a steering-wheel from one of the team's cars.
Jonny Reid was the best placed driver for the International Motorsport team in a very wet Qualifying session, after Fisher & Paykel GT3 team-mate Matt Halliday had a high speed altercation early in the session.
Reid set a time good enough for fourth place on the grid for the first race, in what was an especially wet Qualifying. Reid held on to fourth place in Race One after a spirited drive, recording a lap time on the way to fourth that was less than one tenth of a second slower than the new track record of 61.549 seconds, set by Craig Baird.
Reid continued his consistent run of scoring fourth place in Race Two, which was again run in damp to wet conditions. Reid was pushed hard by colleague Halliday in the latter stages of the race, with the pair even rubbing bumpers at one stage.
The conditions dried up for Race Three, which allowed an extremely tight battle between the top five drivers. Reid showed plenty of controlled aggression, again finishing fourth, right on the tail of defending champion Craig Baird. Indeed the battle at the front was so close that the first five cars in the race were separated by only two seconds.
Reid still sits fourth in the points standings, with just two rounds of the championship now remaining.
Fisher & Paykel GT3 team-mate Matt Halliday endured a weekend that can only be defined as bizarre. The 2009 Porsche Michelin Supercup Rookie of the Year arrived at the race track on Saturday morning in time for Qualifying, only to find the steering wheel of his GT3 had been stolen.
With a borrowed replacement steering wheel fitted, Halliday headed out on track, but was caught out by a puddle as he entered the pit straight for the first time. The puddle sent Halliday's car careering off the circuit, making heavy contact with the track barrier.
As the team set to work on repairing damage to Halliday's GT3, Halliday knew he had his work cut out for him, having to start from fifteenth and last on the grid for Race One.
Never one to back down however, Halliday was off to a flying start, passing five cars on the opening lap, and eventually working himself up to sixth place by the chequered flag. More impressive was the fact that Halliday's engineers only had time to perform a basic wheel alignment on his GT3 due to the damage repairs taking time, meaning the handling of his car was not perfect.
Race Two saw Halliday move another place forward to fifth, right on the tail of team-mate Reid, in a car that was now performing the way he wanted it to. And the missing steering wheel; team members searched the roads surrounding the circuit on Saturday evening, and managed to find the vital part in a roadside ditch not far from the track.
The L.A. based Kiwi's only constellation for the weekend came in the third and final race, with second place the best result from what was a truly testing weekend. Despite loosing 49 points to championship leader Baird, Halliday still holds second in the points.
It was a promising start to the weekend for Mitch Cunningham, with seventh place in Qualifying. He went on to hold seventh in Race One, after Halliday put a late race pass on the reigning Toyota Racing Series champion.
The wet Race Two didn't treat Cunningham so well, with an eleventh place finish after sliding off the circuit, with the treacherous conditions catching the GT3 Cup rookie out. Cunningham did make amends in Race Three, working his way up to sixth place after starting in tenth.
Andrew Bagnall continues to hold a strong seventh place in the championship after a trouble free weekend. He qualified ninth for the first race, but dropped back to eleventh by the chequered flag.
The highly experienced Porsche racer moved forward one place in Race Two, again staying out of trouble in what was a demanding weekend for all the Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge drivers. Then in the final race of the weekend for the GT3's, Bagnall was shuffled back to eleventh in one of the most tightly fought races of the season.
Added to the challenges at Timaru, the International Motorsport team didn't just have GT3 Cup cars racing in the South Island. In the North Island the team had its two GT3 RS's competing in the Bridgestone Porsche championship in conditions that were possibly even worse than in Timaru..
Ian Hayr continues to lead the championship after an extremely wet weekend of racing. Despite this being Hayr's first ever season of Motor Racing, he didn't put a foot wrong all weekend, which was capped off by a race win in Race Three.
Team-mate Rob Alloway's weekend wasn't quite as trouble free though. Just like GT3 Cup compatriot Matt Halliday, Alloway was caught out by the wet conditions in Qualifying with slight contact with the barriers early in the session. After taking it easy in the first race of the weekend, Alloway got to work and scored top-ten results in the next two races.
It's back to home base now for the team's GT3's, with a full on schedule of GT3 Cup and Bridgestone Porsche racing ahead for the team's hard working pit crew. The next round of the GT3 Cup takes place at the Manfeild Autocourse over the weekend of 13-14 February, while the Bridgestone Porsche championship battle resumes the following weekend at Pukekohe.
-source: international motorsport