V8S

NZ Utes: Chris Pither Ruapuna preview

PITHER RACE READY FOR RUAPUNA Palmerston North V8 Ute driver Chris Pither 'The Doctor' arrives at the penultimate round of the NZV8 Utes Series at Powerbuilt Tools Raceway, Ruapuna in Christchurch this weekend fresh from a successful outing in...

PITHER RACE READY FOR RUAPUNA

Palmerston North V8 Ute driver Chris Pither 'The Doctor' arrives at the penultimate round of the NZV8 Utes Series at Powerbuilt Tools Raceway, Ruapuna in Christchurch this weekend fresh from a successful outing in an Australian prepared ute at the Clipsal 500 at Adelaide last weekend.

Pither, currently leads the NZ V8 Utes Series in his ENZED Falcon, having won every round of the championship so far. The 23-year-old was a regular in the Australian V8 Ute Series several seasons ago and was invited to be one of the Legends drivers at the Clipsal 500 in which several high profile guest drivers joined the regulars in a series of races. Pither showed his undoubted ability qualifying second fastest, being pipped for pole by just 7/100ths of a second. He then drove to eleventh place after a drivethrough for a questionable startline penalty. Pete Burnitt, the owner of the ute then secured an eighteenth place in the next race before the duo combined for the third and final race in which Pither crossed the line fifth before being promoted to fourth. In the process the 23-year-old kiwi regained the lap record he used to hold at the famous Adelaide street circuit. "I held the record back in 2007. It had been bettered since then but I went under the latest record by 3/10ths of a second so it was good to get it back."

Pither also carried out testing on all three utes for his Australian team at Queensland Raceway prior to Adelaide and says the time behind the wheel has given him some ideas he would like to try in New Zealand this weekend.

Having spent many years racing in the Australian Ute Series and V8 Supercars on the other side of the Tasman Chris is making his first race appearance at Ruapuna since the first season of the Toyota Racing Series almost 5 years ago. However he recently tested an NZV8 saloon there so the circuit is fresh in his head.

"It's pretty technical. It's got a decent straight and it is quite flat. A ute has to be set up right to be in the money."

Chris arrives at Powerbuilt Tools Raceway with a 40 point lead over closest rival and defending series champion, Caine Lobb of Whangarei. 'The Doctor' has won every round this season although he and Lobb tied on points at the most recent round, Chris taking victory on a countback after he was the best placed of the pair at the end of the final race.

This weekends action begins on Saturday morning with a 25 minute practice session. At 2.35pm that afternoon the V8 Utes battle it out for grid positions for the first race of the weekend in a 20 minute qualifying session. The first race of the round of 8 laps duration follows at 4.50pm.

'The Doctor' and his fellow competitors contest three more races on Sunday, all of 8 laps duration. At 11.10am the first race of the day is from a marble draw grid with a reverse marble grid race to follow at 1.45pm. The final race, timed to start at 4.50pm, lines up with the highest points scorers from the weekend at the front.

The final round of the series takes place at the Timaru International Motor Raceway next weekend - 27/28 March.

Pither's efforts in the 2009/2010 NZV8 Ute Series are supported by ENZED, KDTraining.com and Cairns Bins.

-source: chris pither

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About this article
Series V8S
Drivers Chris Pither
Teams Toyota Racing