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ASKO One Hour Series at Ruapuna this weekend

ASKO One Hour Series at Ruapuna this weekend

It’s another overfull grid this Saturday as the 2013 ASKO One Hour Race Series heads into its 2nd round at Powerbuilt Ruapuna with a capacity field of 45 cars set to take the starters flag. Entries are wildly varied and range from late model Porsche 997 and V8 racing machines through to little Toyota Starlets & Honda’s. The driver line-up is equally as varied, with drivers ranging from 16 year olds Josh Perkins (RX7) and Mitchell van Eekelen (BMW E30) through to one of NZ’s oldest competing drivers, John Cottier (Starlet) who is close to turning 80 years old. With the One Hour Race Series being a fun and affordable way to enter endurance racing but still sharing the experience, the thrill & strategy of the old fashioned tortoise and the hare battles, spectators are guaranteed some great racing action.

Teretonga pole sitter & race winner Grant Williams (RX7 V8) will be flying solo at this event as regular co-driver Brent Buist is away at Rally Wairarapa, but he will be looking to back up his strong performance from Teretonga. Tony Quinn (Aston Martin DB9R) set a new lap record at Teretonga but will not make the journey north, and after issues at Teretonga Tim O’Connor (Ferrari 458) will also unfortunately miss round 2. So Williams’ main opposition is likely to come from the Porsche 997 GT3’s, competing in the GT Class of the One Hour Series. Danny Whiting showed his pace at Teretonga qualifying, narrowly missing the pole position, but car issues during the race prevented him from turning qualifying speed into a good race result. In contrast George McFarlane/Grant Silvester missed qualifying due to car issues but stormed through from the back of the grid to take a splendid 2nd place overall.  Others to watch in the GT class will be Hayden Knighton who had a strong debut in his new car & 12hr champion Phil Hood, both in Porsche 997 GT3’s, and Sue McLaughlin (996 GT3) who unfortunately missed the opening round.

Class 1 (3501cc and above) always brandishes spectacular machinery and Chris Henderson’s new Toyota AE86 V8 is no exception. He was initially giving the Porsche 997’s a run for their money at Teretonga, but engine issues eventually saw him drop out. Second in Class 1 was Brian Scott (Corvette C5) with Tony Head (Altezza Turbo) third, so these will be two to watch on the fast Ruapuna circuit. This class will also include a pair of Batman RX7 turbo’s and the great little BMW 135i of Barry Kirk-Bunnand and the NZ6+ spec Commodore of Nathan Pilcher/Keiran Roberts which could easily be the tortoise amongst the hares after a top ten overall finish at Teretonga.

The competition will be as fiercely fought right through each class within the Series and especially Class 2 (2001cc-3500cc) which probably has the most diverse cars. Teretonga class winner Hamish Ellingham (Mitsi Evo 9) will again square off against a hoard of BMW’s including the rapid BMW E30 M3 of Warren Good/Ron Mackersey who took 2nd in class at Teretonga. This class sees everything from factory built Seat Leon Supercopa and BMW Mini Challenge cars through to a pair of classic Porsche’s, Malcolm Jones DX Corolla turbo and Jim Kelly’s older Nissan 280Z which is another that had a great result at Teretonga through consistency rather than outright speed.

Class 3&4 (0-2000cc) will see the giant killing Toyota Starlet of Stu Black, who finished an astonishing 6th outright at Teretonga, head the small-car class. Toyota dominated the Teretonga podium with Bradley Dawson (Trueno) and Grant Aitken (Toyota 86) filling the class podium spots ahead of Warren Walker/James Mitchell (Civic) and Rhys Turner (Civic). The only non-Toyota /Honda runners didn’t fare well at Teretonga with the BMW E30 of Marc Denton retiring early and a big late race crash for Ian Wooster (MX5) sees him out for the rest of the Series. Although this class has our smallest cars, every year it produces fantastic down to the wire racing, and expect nothing less this year.

After Ruapuna this Saturday, the ASKO One Hour Race Series moves to Timaru’s Levels Raceway on Saturday 19th October, for the 3rd round of the 2013 Series. The 4th round and Series’ Grand Finale will be held at the first ever race meeting at the magnificent Highlands Motorsport Park, Cromwell on Saturday 9th November, where a new Series Champion will be crowned. Thanks to Series sponsor ASKO Appliances as well as class sponsors Mobil 1, Southern Finance Ltd, Paul Kelly Motor Company & Hagley Aluminium the ASKO Series will again have the richest prize money pool in NZ Motorsport, with One Hour competitors in for a share of $30,000 - that will be paid out as prize money for 2013, as well as major spot prizes up for grabs to a competitors in either the one hour or three hour Series..

For more information, or to be added to the South Island Endurance Racing Drivers Club’s e-mailing list, please contact Chris Dunn via e-mail at sierdc@xtra.co.nz  Club information and live race updates can also be found on facebook at www.facebook.com/sierdc, and for more information on the series sponsor ASKO, please visit www.asko.co.nz. The Ruapuna action starts from 10.30am Saturday and gate entry is only $15-00.

Ends

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