McIntyre/Ellingham Score First Up In ASKO 3 Hour Series
22 SEPTEMBER 2013
McIntyre/Ellingham Score First Up In ASKO 3 Hour Series
John McIntyre of Upper Moutere, Nelson, and Simon Ellingham of Napier drove a well judged race to take the honours in the opening round of the ASKO Endurance Three Hour Series at Teretonga Park, Invercargill on Saturday.
McIntyre put their Porsche 997 GT3 on pole position and set a hot pace over the opening laps before taking advantage of an early safety car to pit and hand over to Ellingham. The less experienced Ellingham kept the car well in contention before three-time NZV8 Champion McIntyre took the final stint. McIntyre passed last year’s winners Paul Kelly (Christchurch)/Daniel Gaunt (Melbourne) with 15 minutes remaining to bring the car home ahead of the Kelly/Gaunt Porsche. Matt and Dwayne Carter of Auckland brought their BA Falcon V8 Supercar home third despite a late pit stop due to a puncture after a fine drive.
Angus McFarlane/Michael Bushell of Christchurch finished fourth in their GT3 Cup R after leading for a prolonged period of the race. A spin after Bushell got onto the ‘marbles’ rounding a slower car cost them dearly. Fifth were Rick Armstrong and Jonny Reid who dropped out of second place late in the race when Reid pitted after front end damage from the opening stint came back to haunt the team. “We ended up having four stops,” said former New Zealand A1GP driver Reid. After three stops we were still on the lead lap. Rick drove like a champion.” Christchurch pair George McFarlane and Grant Silvester secured sixth in another Porsche.
McIntyre praised crew chief Richard Lester and his partner Ellingham at the conclusion of the race. “Richard made a brilliant call to bring us in under the safety car and put Simon in. Simon did a good job. He has done very little racing. We had good pit stops and kept out of trouble which is hard but the small cars make the series and it is really entertaining.” Looking back at his pace n the first stint McIntyre said. ”I haven’t driven one of these cars for a long time and I didn’t know how hard to push. I was badly baulked at one stage. Over the last ten laps I had a build up on my front left tyre and I wasn’t sure whether it was delaminating or not.”
Kelly and Gaunt had caught up a margin lost during a safety car period but with Gaunt at the wheel near the end of the race the telemetry was incorrectly telling him that the fuel burn was going to bring him up short. He pulled back at that stage, dropping to second.
The Ferrari 458 Challenge of Craig Innes (Mt Maunganui) and Sam MacNeill (Palmerston North) showed great early pace chasing McIntyre very hard. However right front tyre problems hampered the car – “we changed a few’’ said MacNeill. Later in the race the Ferrari was pushed off the circuit in a coming together, ripping off the brake ducts and later MacNeill clipped someone. Last year’s second place man Andrew Bagnall never made it to the end either. With V8 Supercar star Alex Davison alongside this year, Bagnall lost two laps with a puncture and then a steering arm broke with Davison at the wheel.
Allan Dippie (Dunedin)/Scott O’Donnell (Invercargill) suffered suspension problems but charged back from 27th to 12th place at the chequered flag.
The top three overall placegetters took the class honours in the GT Class while Class 1 (3501cc & over) went to the 2011 Class Champions Paul Rickerby/Graeme Rhodes of Christchurch in their Mazda RX7 V8 which has undergone much development since last season. North Island trio - David Dovey/Andrew Bowler/Shane Wenslick were second in their Falcon while Alexandra drivers Bruce Davidson/David Garden were third in the class in their new Chev Corvette C6R. Davidson/Garden were running well inside the top ten early in the race but lost time after a tangle which put them off the road and necessitated a safety car.
Aaron Harris (Hamilton)/Sam Fillmore (Auckland) took Class 2 (2001cc -3500cc) in one of the Seat Leon Supercopa’s ahead of Christchurch pair of Richard Jones /Dean McGuigan (BMW M3) and the Toyota Sprinter AE86 turbo of Blenheim’s Patrick & Ryan Heagney.
Class 3&4 (0-2000cc) went to the ex- Kiwi Team Nurburgring Honda Civic R of Paul Coghill/David Hunter from Dunedin while Jeff Vincent of Invercargill and Daniel Currie of Ohoka were second in their Civic ahead of the ever reliable Peugeot 106 of Ken Sinclair/Dennis Ham of Dunedin.
The series now moves to Powerbuilt Ruapuna, Christchurch on 5 October before rounds at Levels Raceway, Timaru and the new Highlands Motorsport Park circuit in Cromwell where the overall 3 Hour Series champion will be awarded the South Canterbury Toyota Cup.
The series is supported by naming sponsor ASKO Appliances along with series sponsors Mobil 1, Hagley Aluminium, Paul Kelly Motor Company and Southern Finance thanks to whom there is a significant prize money pool of $30,000 to pay out to series competitors. There is also a magnificent Norm Sinclair original painting valued around $10,000 and a set of new Michelin tyres, that will both be given away as a spot prizes and Vortex Racewear have also supported the series with two full race-gear kits giving the series NZ’s biggest prize and prizemoney package.”
For more information on the South Island Endurance Series, entries, or to be added to the South Island Endurance Racing Drivers Club’s e-mailing list, please contact Chris Dunn via e-mail at email@example.com. Club information can also be found on facebook at www.facebook.com/sierdc, for more information on the series sponsor ASKO, please visit www.asko.co.nz