PITHER PREPARED FOR AUSSIE INVASION Newly crowned NZ V8 Utes Champion Chris Pither of Palmerston North is relishing the opportunity to compete against a contingent of Australian V8 Ute drivers at the ITM 400 in Hamilton this weekend. Pither, ...
PITHER PREPARED FOR AUSSIE INVASION
Newly crowned NZ V8 Utes Champion Chris Pither of Palmerston North is relishing the opportunity to compete against a contingent of Australian V8 Ute drivers at the ITM 400 in Hamilton this weekend. Pither, 'The Doctor', spent several seasons on the other side of the Tasman contesting the Australian Series against many of the drivers that he will encounter this weekend but this time he will be meeting them on home turf as part of a Trans Tasman "test match".
Pither will be a key man for the kiwis. His experience in the Australian series will be invaluable while he was also the dominant individual in the recently completed NZ Series winning four of the five rounds. The only round he did not win only slipped from his grasp on the final lap of the final race when his ENZED Falcon experienced a fuel surge problem.
The Palmerston North driver is also one of the few in the New Zealand team familiar with the challenges of street circuits. The track is a demanding 3.4 kilometre layout which winds its way through the streets of downtown Hamilton. However Pither is confident his team mates will come to grips with the unique challenges of temporary street circuits and their unforgiving nature. "Street circuits are new to a lot of the kiwis and the Australians are a lot more familiar with them. However the guys from the New Zealand series are driving well."
Pither is looking forward to the challenge. "I'm looking forward to the weekend. I enjoy street tracks. Adelaide is pretty good. I've had 5 years of street tracks. I've raced against their guys and I know where they stand. I think the structured grid (each row will feature one Australian and one kiwi side by side) is pretty cool. It will emphasise the kiwi, aussie rivalry. Hopefully the kiwis will be on top. I'm going out with one goal in mind and that is to continue my winning streak."
Asked if team tactics will play a part in the trans tasman challenge Chris replies, "I will do everything I need to do to win it for the kiwis. Bring on Australia!"
Having campaigned in the championship in both countries Chris is well qualified to note any differences in the style of drivers from each side of the Tasman. "With thirty-two utes the Australian Series is a bit more competitive at the front of field. In the reverse grid races they have to try harder and push harder and be more aggressive."
The intense trans tasman rivalry and the competitive nature of V8 Ute racing will ensure an exciting spectacle in Hamilton this weekend.
The Trans Tasman V8 Ute Challenge competitors will receive a 30 minute test session at 8.55am on Friday morning followed by a 20 minute qualifying period at 10.40am. The first two races, both over 10 laps, take place on Saturday at 9.05am and 1.20pm respectively with the third and final contest over 14 laps scheduled for 10.20am on Sunday morning.
Pither's efforts in the Trans Tasman Ute Challenge at Hamilton will be supported by ENZED, KDTraining.com and Cairns Bins.
-source: chris pither