Tannock takes hard fought D1NZ Pro-Sport Series victory at Manfeild

Bruce Tannock leads Michael Thorley in the final battle. pic: Matthew Hansen

MEDIA RELEASE: Bruce Tannock leapt to the top of the 2016-’17 Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship, after taking victory at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon for round two of the series.

The top-32 battles were punctuated by the early exit of eighth place qualifier Ben Jenkins. Up against former circuit racer Matt Higham, Jenkins dropped back on his chase run, which cost the Nissan Silvia S13 slider a place in the top-16.

Bruce Tannock made his way into the top-16 easily, and came up against Rowan Bainbridge. On his lead run, Bainbridge ran strongly, but lost his slim advantage when he went off the road exiting the final corner. The mistake cost him, and through went Tannock into the top-eight.

Meanwhile, top qualifier Kyle Jackways went up against Mitch Gibbs in his top-16 battle. Jackways cruised through to the top-eight, after Gibbs faded in his chase run. The pair were unable to be split in the second run, but Jackways advanced after taking a 7/3 advantage on his chase.

Tully Puckey and Michael Thorley went head-to-head in their top-16 battle, which was stifled after debris on track needed removing. After leading Thorley in the first run, Puckey slammed into the back of Thorley’s Nissan Laurel C33-Skyline R34 cross. Thorley was given benefit of the doubt, sending him through to the top-eight to face John O’Gorman.

Higham’s strong run of form continued into the top-16, where he defeated Callum Neeson. However, his hot run into the top-eight ended when he failed initiate against Jackways on his chase. Higham called his five minute timeout, but Jackways progressed into the top-four as Higham again failed to initiate on his lead run.

Bruce Tannock and Cody Pullen-Burry went up against each other in the top-eight battles, which saw the pair come to blows as Pullen-Burry chased. As he looked to close the margin, Pullen-Burry tapped the rear of Tannock’s Silvia. A strong lead and chase run by Tannock, compounded by mistakes on his rival’s chase run, saw Pullen-Burry knocked out of contention.

John O’Gorman was unlucky to miss out on a top-four spot, after he was forced to take a zero on his lead run, with a mechanical timeout. Having scrubbed already, the Link ECU backed drifter failed to score as he called time.

The pair who faced each other in the season opening final at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium again found themselves head-to-head. Tannock and Jackways battled hard, and the initial call by the judges was a call towards Tannock. But the decision was made for a one-more-time after Tannock went well wide of the second inside clipping point.

Another one-more-time was called as the judges couldn’t split the pair. Jackways led Tannock on what was their fifth pass, with Tannock hounding the bumper of Jackways. Jackways couldn’t match Tannock for proximity in the run, then compounded his mistakes with a spin – handing Tannock the win.

In the second of the top-four battles, Guy Graham-Bagrie faced Thorley. The Nissan driver held plenty of angle, and was quick through the second sector. Despite falling off the back of Graham-Bagrie, the judges awarded Thorley a 6/4 advantage.

Graham-Bagrie fought hard early on in his chase, but two straight lines cost him any chance of a finals berth-handing Thorley the win.

In the battle for third place, Jackways was given the final podium place after Graham-Bagrie failed to initiate on his lead run. His chase run had proven to be a strong chase, but came to nothing after the failure.

The final battle between Thorley and Tannock saw Tannock lead, and immediately extend the gap. The initial advantage was given to Tannock. Thorley’s lead run looked strong, but Tannock a wheel drop on the inside clipping point, and his failure to follow Thorley deep into the hairpin saw the judges opt for a one-more-time.

Thorley ran an almost identical chase run on Tannock, but it was Bruce’s chase that again raised eyebrows. Thorley again went deep into the hairpin, but Tannock followed the Laurel deep, which saw the judges go the way of the Achilles sponsored Silvia S13.