PITHER WORKS HIS WAY CLOSER TO V8 UTE TITLE Chris Pither 'The Doctor' edged closer to the 2009/2010 V8 Utes Championship when he took the honours on the first day of the final round at the Timaru International Motor Raceway today. Pither and...
PITHER WORKS HIS WAY CLOSER TO V8 UTE TITLE
Chris Pither 'The Doctor' edged closer to the 2009/2010 V8 Utes Championship when he took the honours on the first day of the final round at the Timaru International Motor Raceway today.
Pither and Caine Lobb 'The Ginja Ninja' came to Timaru as the only two drivers capable of taking the championship and today Pither took pole position and won both of the opening races of the round to extend his lead to 48 points over Lobb.
Pither of Palmerston North took his ENZED Falcon to pole position this morning while series returnee Simon Beirne of Christchurch did a fine job to take second on the grid in his Team McDonald's Falcon. Beirne 'Jnr Burner' has not raced since the final round of last years series but was quickly up to speed today.
Leading rookie Simon 'Sly Si' Grace of Christchurch was third fastest in his Wunderfloor Commodore followed by another newcomer and hometown driver Chris Dunn, making just his second start in a V8 Ute. Graham 'Snr Burner' Beirne in his John Jones Steel Falcon and Mike 'Buzz' Lightfoot of Auckland in another Falcon rounded out the top six while defending champion and series contender Caine Lobb in his Mark Cromie Holden was left stranded in seventh place on the grid for the first race. Conditions were patchy all day long at the circuit and were at their best for qualifying at the end of the session. Lobb was going for a lap when someone half spun in front of him costing the opportunity of a good time. Therefore he would have to fight his way through the field. Turangi driver Jeff Kernohan, son of series regular Dave Kernohan, qualified eleventh in his first series outing.
Simon Beirne won the start in the first race this afternoon and led away from Pither. 'The Doctor' then took a hit at the second corner and ran onto the grass but maintained second place. Beirne led Pither but the Team McDonald's Falcon ran wide on lap 2, crossing the ripple strip and causing damage to the power steering bringing about Beirnes retirement while Pither now had the lead. Local man Dunn was doing a great job, running prominently to hold second place for a time before Lobb made his way through to finish second behind Pither.
Grace crossed the line third but was penalised 5 seconds, a decison he thought was hard on him. He dropped behind Lightfoot who was given third, Dunn in fourth plus Graham Beirne.
The second race this afternoon was started from a marble draw grid and Pither fared well securing third position while Lobb would again have to drive through the field.
Geoff 'Spence' Spencer of Palmerston North was the early leader but Pither was through early into a lead he would not lose. Lobb worked his way through to take second on the penultimate lap while Mike 'Buzz ' Lightfoot continued the good impression he is making in the series with another third place. Graham 'Snr Burner' Beirne was next ahead of Simon 'Jnr Burner' Beirne. Grace came through from ninth on the grid and continues to hold third in the championship although Graham Beirne has now closed to within 5 points.
Chris Dunn was a non-starter in the second race due to gearbox problems, disappointing after his impressive early performances.
Two more races remain in the championship. The third race of the round takes place at 11.40am tomorrow morning with a reverse marble grid race over 10 laps. The season concludes with a race from a grid based on accumulated points at 2.35pm over 8 laps. After that race the 2009/2010 NZV8 Utes Champion will be known.
The NZV8 Utes Series enjoys support from corporate partners, ENZED, Radio Hauraki and Yokohama for this season while the NZV8 Utes are managed by category manager, Jamie Kett of Event 1.
-source: nzv8 utes