NZ: Series Taupo Saturday report
REID WINS BATTERY TOWN PORSCHE GT3 CUP CHALLENGE OPENER Jonny Reid was the big winner on the first day of competition at the final round of this season's Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge in Taupo, turning the tables on fastest qualifier ...
REID WINS BATTERY TOWN PORSCHE GT3 CUP CHALLENGE OPENER
Jonny Reid was the big winner on the first day of competition at the final round of this season's Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge in Taupo, turning the tables on fastest qualifier David Reynolds and champion-elect Craig Baird to claim victory in the opening race.
Series rookie Reid, the former kart and international single-seat series race winner, claimed his first Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge race and round win at the penultimate round of the 2009/10 series at Feilding's Manfeild circuit last month and continued on his winning way today, joining Reynolds on the front row of the grid then capitalising on a lightning quick pit stop to win the 30-lap/100 km The Mad Butcher mini-enduro race from Daniel Gaunt, Matt Halliday and championship points leader Craig Baird.
First home in the Mothers 996 Cup category meanwhile was Wellington's Simon McLennan from season-long rival Hugh Gardiner with Simon Evans third and Gene Rollinson fourth.
With double points and an additional $10,000 prize money the 100km The Mad Butcher mini-enduro races have added a new dimension to the four Battery Town Porsche Challenge championship meetings they have been run at this season and today's was one of the best.
Series qualifying king David Reynolds slotted into an early lead from Reid and Reynold's Triple X Motorsport teammates Craig Baird and Daniel Gaunt with Reid's International Motorsport teammate Matt Halliday in fifth and last season's Toyota Racing Series champion Mitch Cunningham in sixth.
Hugh Gardiner made a strong start after pipping Mothers 996 Cup rival Simon McLennan in qualifying only to be tapped into a spin as the field negotiated the first corner, but like Triple X Motorsport's young gun Courtney Letica - who broke a control arm in qualifying and had to start from the seventh row of the grid - he made quick work of making up places.
For Courtney that meant making his way up to seventh place before being the first driver to pit for the compulsory tyre change and a trouble-free run in the second half of the race to cross the line in fifth place.
Craig Baird - who had been circulating in fourth place after being passed by Halliday - was the first of the front-runners to pit, with Gaunt, Reynolds and Reid following a lap later.
It was Reid who had the quicker stop however, beating Reynolds out of pit lane and onto the track.
While the others were in the pits Matt Halliday assumed the lead but pitted himself a lap later, tucking into second place behind Reid and in front of Daniel Gaunt, David Reynolds and Baird.
Initially Reid got away from the chasing pack but Halliday chipped away at his lead until the penultimate lap when - after being badly baulked as he lapped some of the slower cars, and with his tyres now well past their best, he fell into the clutches of Gaunt.
At the line the order was Reid, Gaunt, Halliday and Baird, fourth place not quite enough for defending series champion Baird to claim Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge title number six.
And where was poleman and early race leader David Reynolds?
The hard-charging 24-year-old Australian started slipping back down the order soon after the pit stop and eventually pitted for a second time to change a slowly deflating left front tyre, eventually crossing the line in eighth place between Triple X Motorsport team boss Shane McKillen and teammate Paul Kelly.
After the race Reid was keen to share the win with the members of his International Motorsport team, particularly his crew in the pits.
"Full credit to the boys, the team really made my job easier today. We had the fastest stop and that's what won us the race."
Once again there was a strong turnout of 996 cars to contest the Mothers 996 Cup category with Simon Evans having one of his most competitive outings to date to finish third behind Simon McLennan and Hugh Gardiner but in front of Gene Rollinson, series newcomer Mark Maddren and South Islander Allan Dippie.
MINI Challenge front-runner Mark Maddren was driving the 996 raced up until now by fellow Aucklander Rob Steele and admitted that today's race was something of a baptism of fire.
"They're certainly a big change from a MINI, "he said afterwards.
Today's The Mad Butcher mini-enduro was the first of three Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge championship races at the Taupo Motorsport Park this weekend. There are two more tomorrow, a10 lap 'fastest-to-the-front' sprint in the morning and a 12 lap top-six-reverse-grid final in the afternoon.
-source: pcc nz