McLENNAN TOPS CLASS
Young Porsche ace Simon McLennan of Upper Hutt made every post a winner during Round 3 of the Porsche GT3 996 Cup at Teretonga Park near Invercargill at the weekend.
McLennan topped his class in qualifying before going on to win all three races in his New World Metro On Willis Porsche.
The result has rocketed Simon to the top of the championship with more than 100 points in hand over his closest rival Simon Evans of Auckland. However McLennan is well aware that it would only take one poor result to cause that margin to evaporate.
Simon was in good touch all weekend. He led the 996 Class times in qualifying by almost half a second. He then ran a strong race on Saturday afternoon over 38 laps of the 2.64 kilometre track to win the class from Evans.
The following morning he again outpaced Evans to take his second class victory. He also finished sixth overall, beating home several of the newer 997 model cars. Simon was so successful that he found himself sitting on pole position for the final race which has a reverse grid for the top six drivers from the meeting. It is almost unheard of for a 996 class driver to be in the position Simon found himself.
Conscious of the fact that as well as his own championship effort in the 996 Class the 997 model drivers are conducting their own championship Simon, his father Colin and mechanic Cam McCormack went to the major players in the 997 championship to get their thoughts on the fact they had pole position. They all totally supported Simons right to start from pole despite their own separate championship aspirations.
"Starting from pole was exciting but I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a few nerves," said Simon after the race. To add to those nerves rain blew in across the track prior to the race. Nevertheless it made little difference to Simon who completed his clean sweep to again win the class and also take an impressive fifth placing overall.
The successful weekend took Simon to the top of the point standings at the halfway point of the championship. He has now won seven of the nine races contested.
Simon was very pleased with his weekends work. "The only hiccup was the first practice. We took the car straight off the trailer but it was good from the second practice onwards." Commenting on the fact that at times he was mixing it with the later model 997 class Simon said, "I was enjoying racing those guys but I have to look at the bigger picture. I am focussed on the 996 Championship. The fact we have a good gap in the points means nothing as I learned last year even at the last round it can be taken from you."
He also had praise for the leading 997 Class teams. "I take my hat off to International Motorsport and Triple XXX Motorsport for letting me start on pole in the reverse top six race."
With a successful weekend behind him Simon and the Metro On Willis Porsche GT3 now head to Timaru for Round 4 of the championship next weekend. "We want a repeat next weekend. I have enjoyed Timaru in the past. I have had an okay run there with the Mini before."
After testing on Thursday and Friday qualifying for Simon and the Porsche GT3 competitors will take place at 11.50am on Saturday morning. Race one is over 12 laps of the tight and twisting 2.4 kilometre circuit at 3.25pm that afternoon. Race two is scheduled to go at 11.10am on Sunday morning before the finale at 2.55pm on Sunday afternoon over 16 laps.
Simon McLennan's campaign in the 2010/2011 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Championship is supported by New World Metro On Willis, Auto Despatch, Ice Tech New Zealand, Orrsum Laser Services, Kinetic 121, Powder Coating Services, Teng Tools, GearWrench and Mothers.
M2 Motorsport also acknowledge Motorsport Services for their work in preparing the New World Metro On Willis Porsche.
-source: m2 motorsport/beer