VICTORY RIPPED FROM PITHERS GRASP If ever there was an example of the unpredictable nature of motorsport highly rated young kiwi driver Chris Pither of Palmerston North provided it at Powerbuilt Tools Raceway, Ruapuna in Christchurch today.
VICTORY RIPPED FROM PITHERS GRASP
If ever there was an example of the unpredictable nature of motorsport highly rated young kiwi driver Chris Pither of Palmerston North provided it at Powerbuilt Tools Raceway, Ruapuna in Christchurch today. Unbeaten at any round of the 2009/2010 NZV8 Utes Series 23-year-old Pither was on target for his fourth successive round win when a fuel surge problem in his ENZED Falcon ripped victory from his grasp as the chequered flag was being unfurled for him just metres away.
Pither, 'The Doctor', looked set for another dominant weekend when he secured pole position and then led from start to finish to win the opening race of the round in his ENZED Falcon on Saturday. The following morning he started the second contest from third on the grid, the order decided by marble draw. After a good start he was second behind his major championship rival and defending champion Caine Lobb 'The Ginja Ninja' as the field exited the first corner and when Lobb ran wide at the same corner a lap later 'The Doctor' was through and on the way to his second victory of the weekend.
The reversed marble draw grid for the third race saw Chris near the back of the field but he quickly worked his way forward, taking the lead on the sixth lap of the 8 lap race. However a lap later he "nipped" a front wheel and ran wide allowing Lobb through to the lead. Chris followed Lobb across the line and as the driver with the most points from the round to that point would start from pole position in the 12 lap finale complete with compulsory pitstop. Pither emerged from the first corner of the final race in the lead and stayed in front until his pitstop at the halfway point of the race. Once the order had settled down after the pitstops Pither still held the lead but within sight of the flag the ENZED Falcon faltered. That gave Lobb his opportunity while Chris recovered to cross the line in second place.
Over the course of the four races Chris had secured two wins and two second places while Lobb had done the same. It was an identical situation to the previous round at Hampton Downs in February and again a tiebreaker was required. Series rules state that in such circumstances the round victory shall go to the driver who scores the best result in the final race of the round. At Hampton Downs six weeks earlier that had tipped the balance the way of Pither, today it did the opposite, Lobb breaking the season long sequence of round wins for Chris and the ENZED Falcon.
'The Doctor' was philosophical after the letdown. "We were fast enough here, it was just unfortunate. However we are in it for the championship." That championship will be decided at the Timaru International Motor Raceway next weekend where Pither will carry a 40 point lead over Lobb into the final round.
-source: chris pither