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Close Battle Expected In Sport Saloons

Close Battle Expected In Sport Saloons

A strong field of twenty cars has been assembled for Round 4 of the 2007/2008 Kumho Sport Saloon Series which takes place at Timaru International Motor Raceway at Levels near Timaru this weekend. The category are one of the support classes at the Trans Tasman Super Truck meeting at the South Canterbury circuit.

South Canterbury drivers dominate this year's championship both numerically and in the current point standings where Timaru driver Neville Stowell leads the way. Stowell has been virtually unbeatable since he debuted his new Nissan Skyline twelve months ago but another local driver, Mike Small, will be looking to take the battle to his rival this weekend. Small, who also drives a Skyline, came within a whisker of taking last year's championship and is second in this year's overall points. Third overall is Small's son Chris. In his debut season the youngster has made a great start to his motor racing career in a Mitsubishi EVO, consistently running near the front of the field. Ron Shelton is currently fourth in his Nissan Silvia followed by Raymond Hart (Nissan Skyline) and Matt Dunn (Toyota Corolla), meaning the top six in the series are from Timaru.

It is a similar story in the class battles where Stowell leads the T1 Class for forced induction cars from 2001 to 3000cc from Mike Small and Hart. In the T3 Class for forced
induction cars from 1851-2000cc Shelton leads from Twizel driver Allan Ranson and Temuka's Gary Duncan and in Class T2 for forced induction cars from 0-1850cc Chris Small leads from Matt Dunn and Wanaka driver Matt Edgar.

Shelton also leads the Handicap Championship run as part of the series. Stowell lies second in that contest with Chris Small third.

While Stowell has been dominant in recent times he say's, "this is a different track. I will suffer with the shorter straights here so it should be a good, close battle." Stowell will also run with slightly less boost pressure than he had earlier in the series, running 14lbs of boost pressure this weekend as he did at Teretonga Park recently.

Several new faces join the grid for this round of the championship. Darryn Andrews of Lincoln, a regular frontrunner in the class until a couple of years ago makes a welcome return in his Nissan Primera while another face from past seasons, Jim Kelly of Dunedin makes his first appearance for some time in a Ford Falcon XR8.

Other new faces on the grid this weekend are Stan Moore of Timaru in a Mitsubishi EVO 1 and Darcy Hewitt of Invercargill in a Nissan Primera while Nathan McAuley of Timaru and Brent Russell of Christchurch return after being forced out of the previous round of the series at Teretonga with gearbox problems.

After qualifying on Saturday the Kumho Sport Saloon competitors will take part in a regular grid start race later that day. On Sunday a top six reverse grid race in the morning will be followed by a handicap race later that afternoon.


Round 1: 13/14 October 2007 - Powerbuilt Tools International Raceway, Ruapuna, Christchurch
Round 2: 23-25 November 2007 - Powerbuilt Tools International Raceway, Ruapuna, Christchurch
Round 3: 8/9 December 2007 - Teretonga Park, Invercargill
Round 4: 12/13 January 2008 - Timaru International Motor Raceway, Levels, Timaru
Round 5: 15/16 March 2008 - Powerbuilt Tools International Raceway, Ruapuna, Christchurch
Round 6: 5/6 April 2008 - Timaru International Motor Raceway, Levels, Timaru
Round 7: 12/13 April 2008 - Teretonga Park, Invercargill


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