PITHER TAKES EARLY POINTS IN NZV8 UTES New boy Chris Pither made the best start to the season when he dominated the opening day of the 2009/2010 NZV8 Utes Series at the Taupo Motorsport Park at Taupo today. Pither, 'The Doctor' set the fastest...
PITHER TAKES EARLY POINTS IN NZV8 UTES
New boy Chris Pither made the best start to the season when he dominated the opening day of the 2009/2010 NZV8 Utes Series at the Taupo Motorsport Park at Taupo today.
Pither, 'The Doctor' set the fastest time in qualifying and then went on to win the opening race to take the series points lead from Graham 'Snr' Beirne and defending champion Caine Lobb - 'the Ginja Ninja' after the first day of racing in the series.
Pither took his ENZED Falcon to the fastest time in qualifying, needing only two flying laps to achieve it. Beirne, who has found good speed over the winter months was second fastest with series rookie Simon Grace of Christchurch third in his ex Mike Pero Holden ahead of Lobb. 'Dirty Dave' Kernohan, Geoff 'Spence' Spencer, 'The Loan Ranger' Mike Pero, James 'Huggi' Urquhart, Peter 'Rocketman' Robb, Bob 'Sly & Dirty' Grove and Steve Elliott rounded out the timesheets. Robb had spent the night prior to raceday piloting his chopper to blow the frost off orchards in Hawkes Bay.
While there were points on offer for qualifying the grid for the opening race was decided by marble draw. The mix from the draw saw Grove of Albany into the early lead while behind him Pither and Lobb were involved in a good battle. Pither made it through to the lead on lap 5 after Grove and Lobb tangled at Turn 1. However a misfire that returned from the previous day gave Pither some anxious moments on the way to the flag. The miss cleared just as suddenly as it appeared and he crossed the line to open his account with a good win. Current champion Lobb was second, while Grove grabbed the final podium spot.
Behind them there was plenty of the close racing and rubbing that ute racing provides. Beirne was fourth followed by Robb, Spencer and Pero. Kernohan was next followed by James 'Huggi' Urquhart who kissed the tyre wall at Turn 14 during the race, bouncing off before continuing to finish ninth. Grace and Elliott rounded out the finishers.
Today's qualifying session and opening race took place in beautifully warm, sunny conditions. Tomorrow the NZV8 Ute Series competitors have two more races, the first over 10 laps before the final race takes place over 14 laps.
The series enjoys support from corporate partners, ENZED, Radio Hauraki, Yokohama and Penrite for this season while the NZV8 Utes are managed by category manager, Jamie Kett of Event 1.
A fantastic line up of classes are part of the line up at Taupo this weekend with the exciting new IRC Summer Series and GTRNZ with three separate classes of big, fast, radical saloons - GT1, GT2 and GTNZ on the programme.