LUCK IN SHORT SUPPLY FOR PITHER Luck is a commodity in short supply for Queensland based kiwi Chris Pither at the moment. The defending ENZED V8 Ute Challenge Champion had a great run last season but his title defence has been plagued by ...
LUCK IN SHORT SUPPLY FOR PITHER
Luck is a commodity in short supply for Queensland based kiwi Chris Pither at the moment. The defending ENZED V8 Ute Challenge Champion had a great run last season but his title defence has been plagued by ill fortune to date.
After problems in two of the three races at the opening round at Pukekohe three weeks ago Pither, 'The Gypsy' arrived at this weekends second round at Powerbuilt Tools Raceway in Christchurch with high hopes. That confidence seemed justified as Pither and the Gallagher XR8 Falcon were the fastest combination throughout testing on Friday and in this mornings qualifying. Even the marble draw for grid positions in this afternoons first race went well for the defending champion as he selected marble number three, placing him third on the grid for the opening race of the round.
The young kiwi used the draw well, making an excellent start and blasting into the lead off the line. It appeared his bad luck had finally departed as several competitors got involved in a tangle behind him at the first corner, causing plenty of damage and delaying several drivers. However it was not long before Pither felt a slight vibration from the rear end of the Gallagher Falcon. "I backed off a bit but then I lost all drive," explained a despondent Pither after the race. A CV joint in the tailshaft had failed and 'The Gypsy' was out of the race after just two laps.
"It's disappointing after Pukekohe, " said Chris as he watched the Gallagher XR8 Falcon being unloaded off a salvage vehicle in the pits. "I made a pretty good start and got the lead and I felt pretty comfortable. We had the speed through testing and qualifying and I was hoping for a good run. It's not going our way when it counts at the moment."
After setting the pace in testing at the circuit yesterday Pither set a time of 1 minute 39.891 seconds in qualifying today - .508 of a second quicker than current series leader Caine Lobb. However his retirement in the race has dented his chances of pulling back Lobb's points lead this weekend.
At Pukekohe Pither had also been the fastest qualifier but brake and engine problems cost him dearly in two of the three races there.
'The Gypsy' and the Gallagher XR8 Falcon face two more races tomorrow. The first, over 8 laps at 10.45am, will see Chris near the back of the grid as the drivers start in the reverse order of todays marble draw. The final race of the round, over 12 laps, is timed to start at 2.10pm.
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: Cairns Motorsport