NOTHING TO LOSE FOR THE GYPSY
Defending ENZED V8 Ute Champion Chris Pither 'The Gypsy' admits there is nothing to lose as he heads south to Teretonga Park in Invercargill for Round 3 of the ENZED V8 Ute Challenge this weekend.
Pither of Palmerston North had a stellar run to last years championship, winning twelve of the eighteen races, but this year a series of issues and mishaps has hampered his title defence.
"I am going all out. There is nothing to lose. I have to aim for as many points as possible," said Pither as he prepared to head south early this week. "We have been fast enough at the early rounds, we just need to keep it together." That comment sums up the season. Pither has had enough pace to be the fastest in his Gallagher XR8 Falcon throughout testing and qualifying at both rounds to date, only to have a multitude of issues force him into the situation where he is now playing catch up. Both 2009 champion Caine Lobb and former series runner up, Simon Beirne, have leapt ahead of him in the points.
Much of Pithers motorsport career has been forged in Australia hence the nickname of 'The Gypsy'. Consequently he has not spent a lot of time at the venue of this weekends round in recent times. However he is clearly looking forward to the southernmost circuit in New Zealand. "It is challenging.. I really enjoy it. There are so many ways to attack the loop" (the fast corner off the main straight).
Pither last visited the fast 2.6 kilometre circuit two years ago in his first V8 Ute series appearance in New Zealand. "We had the oldest ute around but we won the final race. I have had a bit of success there as I won a Toyota Racing Series round a few years ago too."
After the second round of the series at Christchurch in late November Chris again made the familiar journey across the Tasman to compete in the final round of the Australian V8 Ute Series, sealing 4th place overall in the championship. He missed third place and a championship podium by just one point, a legacy of not being eligible for points at one of the rounds.
He now returns to his New Zealand campaign and will no doubt be hoping that with a new year comes better luck - at least on this side of the Tasman.
Support for Chris in his ENZED V8 Ute Challenge title defence comes from the Gallagher Group, ENZED, KDTraining.com, Cairns Bins and Maldon Salt.
Testing for the ENZED V8 Ute Challenge competitors at Teretonga will be held on Friday. Qualifying and the first of three races will take place on Saturday with the final two races of the round scheduled for Sunday.
-source: chris pither