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Big Challenge Ahead For Lester At Timaru

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Big Challenge Ahead For Lester At Timaru

Fresh from his debut in the Australian Porsche Carrera Cup at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide last weekend, Jono Lester has returned to home soil this weekend for the penultimate round of the Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge at Timaru’s Levels Raceway.

Lester, at just 18 one of only two drivers this season to take a pole position, race win and round win alongside Craig Baird, had a tough time of his initiation into the Australian racing culture, but is optimistic about the weekend ahead where he is locked in battle with team mate Daniel Gaunt over the second championship position.

“I watched Daniel blitz the Toyota Racing Series field around here last year and it was very impressive,” Lester said. “He’ll be hard to beat, as will Craig [Baird] and David [Reynolds] of course.

There are probably six or seven guys who have got a shot here this weekend – far from the two or three horse race that we’ve seen in the GT3s in years gone by. It’s great for the class, and a great confidence booster for anyone who can head the field.”

The competition won’t be the only obstacle for Lester to overcome this weekend, with the Timaru circuit itself presenting many of its own challenges. Levels Raceway is tight and twisty, extremely narrow and has a reputation for low grip and the rapid devouring of rear tyres.

“It will be far from easy,” Lester said. “Timaru is a tricky little circuit and in the new cars you can only be obliged to push them to the limit, but around here you’ve got to be so patient and cautious.

In testing [today, Friday] we found out pretty quickly that a ‘good’ set of tyres can quickly be thrown in the rubbish bin after one 20 minute session. He who has the patient right foot is going to have a distinct advantage come the final race on Sunday.”

Friday testing today showed immediately that this weekend more than ever the competition will be hot, with the top five cars all within half a second of one another in the afternoon session. While Daniel Gaunt and Craig Baird topped the times in the two runs on the day, Lester had a few issues to contend with, struggling for grip on older tyres in the morning and sitting out the afternoon session due to an unfortunate split in his oil line. Even so, the 2007 Steel Trophy Winner is optimistic for qualifying on Saturday morning.

“Even on the tyres we had at our disposal the balance was pretty damn good this morning,” Lester commented. “A few guys chucked on new rubber and all things considered we weren’t that far away, which is good to know because of the predicament we found ourselves in this afternoon.

We’re just going to have to be working extra hard to make amends tomorrow!”


Points after Round Four of Seven
Pos Name Hometown Total
1 Craig Baird Queensland 825
2 Daniel Gaunt Auckland 679
3 Jono Lester Taupo 631
4 Anthony Pedersen Palmerston Nth 571
5 Jody Vincent Auckland 540
6 Rodney Forbes Australia 521
7 Matt Halliday Auckland 495
8 Tim Martin Auckland 391
9 Shane McKillen Auckland 372
10 Paul Kelly Christchurch 358

2007/08 Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Calendar
Rnd 1 Nov 2-4 2007 Pukekohe Park Raceway, Pukekohe
Rnd 2 Nov 23-25 2007 Powerbuilt Tools International Raceway, Ruapuna Park, Christchurch
Rnd 3 Jan 17-20 2008 Taupo Motorsport Park, Taupo
Rnd 4 Feb 15-17 2008 Manfeild Autocourse, Feilding
Rnd 5 Feb 29-Mar 2 2008 Timaru International Motor Raceway (Levels), Timaru
Rnd 6 Mar 7-9 2008 Teretonga Park Raceway, Invercargill
Rnd 7 April 18-20 2008 Hamilton 400 (V8 Supercar meeting)

Jono Lester is proudly supported by Blackwoods Paykels and JBS Tools.

© Scoop Media

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