BRILLIANT WEEKEND FOR HENDERSON AND SLIGHT AT TAUPO Wellington driver Darryn Henderson was in superb form at the Trophy Round of the Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup at the Taupo Motorsport Park this weekend. Henderson was amongst the...
BRILLIANT WEEKEND FOR HENDERSON AND SLIGHT AT TAUPO
Wellington driver Darryn Henderson was in superb form at the Trophy Round of the Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup at the Taupo Motorsport Park this weekend. Henderson was amongst the frontrunners throughout the event as he competed in his Radio Sport/Samsung Porsche as part of the programme at the New Zealand round of the A1GP World Cup Of Motorsport at the circuit. At the end of the weekend both he and his enduro race co-driver, former World Superbike Championship star Aaron Slight, were on the podium at the international event. A highlight for Henderson was dicing wheel to wheel with two of New Zealand's best young drivers, Shane Van Gisbergen and Matthew Halliday in Sunday's sprint race.
The format for the weekend was different to that of a traditional championship round. Instead it consisted of two sprint races - one on Saturday and one on Sunday - plus two fifty minute endurance races with one on each day. The enduro races required two drivers so Henderson called upon good friend Aaron Slight to assist with the driving duties. After his impressive motorcycling career Slight had competed in cars in the UK but prior to this weekend had done few races in New Zealand.
The weekend started well as both Henderson and Slight were fifth fastest in their respective sessions in testing before carrying that form into qualifying with Darryn setting the fifth fastest time and Aaron the sixth quickest time in the two sessions.
Slight was given the wheel in the first sprint race of the weekend to give him much needed mileage and he made a great debut, bringing the Radio Sport/Samsung Porsche home in fourth place. Later in the afternoon the duo teamed up for the first of the enduro races and had a great run to third place.
The following day Henderson was back in the car and put in a brilliant performance in the sprint race. He ran with two of New Zealand's best young overseas based professional drivers, Shane Van Gisbergen and Matthew Halliday, throughout the race. At one stage Henderson passed Van Gisbergen, one of the stars of Australian V8 Supercar racing, before the young driver repassed him. Henderson kept up the pace to take the chequered flag in third spot.
The success continued later in the day when in the second enduro race the pair again took third place in another extremely competitive showing.
Looking back on his most successful weekend since joining the Porsche series just twelve months ago Henderson said, "I had a good feeling about Taupo. I've gone well there before. I really feel I have come right with the car. In qualifying we weren't that far off. It was a quality field - some of the championship contenders weren't there but the replacements were just as good. Aaron was rusty and had no mileage in the car but he went pretty good straight off. He was fizzing to get into the car so we changed the plan and let him do the first sprint race instead of me."
Henderson drove first in Saturday's enduro race, the plan being that as the regular driver of the car he would get as far ahead as he could. "I went as hard as I could for as long as I could. It was tough. The temperature in the car was up to 60 degrees. In fact I overheated myself. We got a good driver change and managed to hold the others off."
In the second enduro race on Sunday the pair adopted the same strategy and made the second fastest driver change of the race.
Slight clearly enjoyed the experience. "It was awesome! Darryn stepped up the pace and we were a good combination. We were able to use the same seat so we didn't need to make changes when we swapped drivers. I was rapt to receive the opportunity and I thought it was maybe too late to make the best of it when the drive came along. However the car was fantastic. The sequential gearbox made life a lot easier. It was a real race car. I've driven with a sequential box in the British Touring Car Championship but they were front- wheel-drive cars. This was a rear-wheel-drive beast. It may have been a tin top but you could feel exactly what was going on. I owe a big thank you to Porsche, Darryn and Darryn's sponsors - Radio Sport, Samsung and the rest.
Slight also remarked on the crowd support both he and Darryn received. "Darryn is from Wellington and I split my time between Masterton and Wellington. It was great to get so much support from the region."
Support for Darryn Henderson's 2008/2009 Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Championship campaign comes from Radio Sport, Samsung, Xtreme Forwarding, Hi Tech Commercial Interiors, Laserlite, Ricoh, Excel Digital, Brandish Advertising, Apparel Master, Zoagn, Anhydro and Global Signage.