RAIN RUINS PITHERS RUN Palmerston North driver Chris Pither made steady improvements during testing and qualifying at Round 5 of the BNT V8s Championship at Manfeild Park in Feilding today. Ultimately however it was rain that hampered...
RAIN RUINS PITHERS RUN
Palmerston North driver Chris Pither made steady improvements during testing and qualifying at Round 5 of the BNT V8s Championship at Manfeild Park in Feilding today. Ultimately however it was rain that hampered his efforts to qualify the New Balance Falcon in the top ten.
Pither is having just his second outing in the championship after making his debut at Timaru three weeks ago. On that occasion he qualified eighth fastest in an impressive debut. Today he looked on track to again make the top ten but rain intervened just as he was about to venture onto the circuit on new tyres.
Pither began the day circulating in the first of two test sessions as he settled into the New Balance Falcon on the track. After struggling with a couple of issues early on changes were made to the car which brought some improvement. Towards the end of the second test session Chris elected to make another change to the car but unfortunately a red flag brought the session to a premature close, costing Pither the chance to analyse the change.
Therefore the 23-year-old went into qualifying unsure of the gains made. As it turned out there was quite a big improvement, around 7/10ths of a second, a healthy chunk of time in this very competitive category. The young driver had the car on used tyres for the first part of qualifying to decide the top twenty and then the initial part of the second segment to find the top ten. Pither and the New Balance Falcon were sitting eighth on the timesheets when Chris decided to come into the pits for new "green" tyres. While he was stopped several others improved their times, pushing him down the order. Then the rain came costing him any chance of improvement.
Pither will now start from 14th position on the grid for tomorrow mornings first race at 9.55am. "The group from fifth on the grid down to me at fourteen is only separated by 3 or 4/10ths of a second," said Pither as he looked back on his day. "I'm confident we would have had at least a 3/10th gain with the green tyre - good enough for the top ten."
However it wasn't to be on this occasion. Pither was however excited to be back racing at his home circuit of Manfeild, just a short distance from Palmerston North. "Its been ages since I've driven here," he said. Pither has spent the last few seasons racing in Australia, acquitting himself well in both V8 Utes and V8 Supercars. Consequently he has had a long absence from many of the New Zealand circuits until his return home this summer to race both NZV8 Utes and the New Balance Falcon.
Following the opening race early tomorrow morning Pither and the New Balance Falcon will also contest another 12 lap event at 12.55pm, also over 12 laps. The final race over 22 laps from a reverse grid start begins at 4.00pm.
Pither's efforts this weekend are supported by New Balance, Powerbuilt, Murphy Buses, Design Autotek and Sonata Lounge Suites.
-source: chris pither