SUPPORTS: Evans completes NZ V8 clean sweep
BNT NZ V8 Touring Cars
Reigning champion Simon Evans won the opening round of the BNT NZ V8 Touring Cars series after completing a sweep of the races at the ITM Auckland Super Sprint.
The Smeg Holden driver backed up his triumph in Saturday’s opener by comfortably winning Sunday’s two heats at Pukekohe.
Evans led every lap of Race 2 from pole after fending off an early challenge from Nick Ross (Nissan Altima).
The former Dunlop Series racer took the victory by 12 seconds from Tom Alexander and Tony Anderson after Ross, Sam Barry and Jason Bargwanna encountered problems in the closing stages.
Barry damaged his Toyota after running wide at Turn 5, which ultimately saw him pit his Camry from second spot.
A mechanical issue for Ross forced the Nissan to pull off the circuit on the final lap, while a spin from Bargwanna saw the former Supercars driver exit the race.
Starting from seventh, Evans comfortably won the reverse grid Race 3 from Barry, Lance Hughes and Alexander.
Ross led until lap 5 when an electrical issue saw the Nissan retire from the race.
“That’s a great way to start the championship,” said Evans.
“It was good to be pushed by Nick Ross yesterday, and Sam Barry was pushing me hard in that last race today.
“I feel they will get stronger as the season gets going.
“Nick will sort out his mechanical issues and will be back on us at the next round, and I know Sam will get faster too once he learns more about the Camry.”
Liam McDonald claimed the honours in Class 2 leading home Steve Taylor in Race 2 and Race 1 winner Brad Lathrope in the final heat.
The series heads to Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park for the second round from December 10-11.
Aussie Racing Cars
Blake Sciberras won the final two races of the Aussie Racing Cars season at the non-championship event at Pukekohe.
Starting sixth from the reverse top 10 grid, Sciberras moved into the lead of the day’s first race by lap 3.
The Western Sydney Motorsport driver soon found himself embroiled in a battle with Kel Treseder for the win.
Treseder dived by Sciberras at Turn 8 on lap 10 but Sciberras fought back to regain the position at the start of the following lap.
In the end, Sciberras clinched the win from Treseder by 0.7s, while series winner Duckworth settled for third ahead of Grant Ludbey.
Pole-sitter Chris Stevenson finished in ninth.
Sciberras was made to work hard to complete a sweep of Sunday’s races.
Duckworth led the final encounter initially before running down the escape road at Turn 5, that dropped him to sixth.
This handed Treseder the advantage from Peter Carr and Sciberras.
Sciberras soon climbed to second after a brief Safety Car period as a four car scrap for the win developed, including Treseder, Carr and the recovering Duckworth.
After taking the lead on the penultimate lap, Sciberras held on to take the flag from Treseder and Duckworth.
NZ V8 Ute Racing Series
Two-time NZ V8 Ute champion Paul Manuell completed a lights-to-flag victory in the third heat of the weekend.
Manuell converted his pole position into a lead but he was unable to relax with Matt Spratt in hot pursuit.
The top two managed to break away from the field as Brett Rudd led the chasing pack.
Manuell and Spratt made slight contact at Turn 5 on lap 10, which forced the leader to run across the grass.
Despite the clash, Manuell went on to win comfortably from Spratt, as Rudd claimed third ahead of Peter Ward.
Central Muscle Cars
Shane Wigston and Tony Galbraith shared the spoils in two eventful handicap races.
Starting from the rear of the grid, Wigston successfully scythed his way through the field, emerging in the lead on the penultimate lap.
The HQ Holden driver took the win from Dean Perkins (Ford Falcon), who also surged from the back, and the Ford Mustang of Greg Honner.
Galbraith won a drag race to the chequered flag to deny John Midgley (Ford XE Falcon) and Greg Holden in Race 3.
Wigston retired from the heat after nine laps, while Perkins finished in 11th position.
Toyota Finance 86 Series
Ash Blewett recorded his second Toyota Finance 86 Series win at the ITM Auckland Super Sprint in a race that finished in dramatic circumstances.
The pole-sitter was involved in a race long dice with Yardley before officials red flagged the contest following a frightening crash for Michael Scott with two laps remaining.
Scott’s car spectacularly vaulted the catch fencing following contact with a rival in the final complex of corners. Luckily the 21-year-old was able to walk away from the wreckage.
The incident saw Blewett take the victory from Yardley, while Reid Harker came through the field to finish third.
Scott was classified in fourth ahead of Australian Formula 4 champion Will Brown.
Harker survived immense pressure from Blewett to win the day’s earlier encounter.
Blewett managed to charge through to second early in the race, having started from sixth on the grid.
He then filled Harker’s mirrors for the remainder of the race, but was unable to complete a pass for the lead.
Scott claimed third ahead of Jack Milligan, Brown and Yardley.
SsangYong Racing Series
Caine Lobb edged Rowan Shepherd in a drag race to the flag to win the final SsangYong Racing Series heat of the weekend.
Lobb was pursued by Shepherd for the entire 10 lap journey before the pair produced a grandstand finish.
In the end, Lobb emerged victorious by 0.04s from Shepherd.
The battle for third provided a thrilling finish too as Daniel Connor leapt from sixth to the final podium spot on the final lap.