PITHER COMPLETES THE JOB
After a championship campaign that has been fraught with setbacks defending ENZED V8 Ute Challenge champion Chris Pither finally broke through for his first round win at Teretonga Park in Invercargill this weekend.
Until this weekend the season had been a far cry from the type of success Chris, 'The Gypsy', enjoyed on his way to the title last year. In his title winning season Pither won four of the five rounds and finished second in the other. This season a succession of problems has kept him from the top step of the podium until today.
The weekend started well as 'The Gypsy' sped to the fastest time in qualifying on Saturday afternoon but that is something he has accomplished at every round to date. The opening race of each round has not gone so well at the previous two outings but at Teretonga Chris kicked off proceedings with an all the way win in the Gallagher XR8 Falcon. That set the foundation for a good weekend but just as it seemed his luck had turned a corner Chris suffered a recurrence of a problem that first surfaced at Pukekohe, the first round of the series. The issue left him with little in the way of brakes for much of Sunday mornings race, causing him to slow to ensure a finish for much needed points. A sixth place resulted and Chris lined the Gallagher XR8 Falcon up on pole position for the final race held in wet conditions on Sunday afternoon. Although beaten off the line by championship leader Caine Lobb, Pither quickly regained control and recorded another race win to secure a very welcome round victory.
After his race win on Saturday Chris expressed relief that he had finally been able to make a good start to a race weekend. He was equally happy after securing the round win. "It's good. We have made up some ground. That is what we were aiming to do. We could have gained more had we not had the problem in race two but it's been a good weekend."
All competitors found the rain on Sunday afternoon made the circuit treacherous and Chris was no exception. "it was pretty slippery." Rival Caine Lobb beat Chris off the line in the wet. "It lit up and I pulled second straight away. The Holdens normally get the jump and that was just emphasised in the rain. I had good grip through the corners though and I didn't go any harder than I needed to. I took no risks."
'The Gypsy' now moves on to the next round of the series at Timaru International Motor Raceway from 21 - 23 January.
Support for Chris in his ENZED V8 Ute Challenge title defence comes from the Gallagher Group, ENZED, KDTraining.com, Cairns Bins and Maldon Salt.
-source: chris pither/beer