History Repeats In ASKO Series
History Repeats In ASKO Series
History repeated itself at Round 2 of the ASKO Endurance 3 Hour Series at Powerbuilt Ruapuna in Christchurch on Saturday. Paul Kelly of Christchurch and Melbourne based kiwi co-driver Daniel Gaunt won the 3 Hour race in their Porsche 997 GT3 taking the chequered flag ahead of Christchurch pairing Rick Armstrong/Matthew Hamilton in a similar car, the same result as last year’s race at the circuit. The first two cars completed 113 laps of the track while third placegetters Allan Dippie of Dunedin and Scott O’Donnell of Invercargill finished third in a Porsche 997 Cup S one lap behind. Andrew Bagnall/Ant Pedersen took fourth in another Porsche with Lindsay O’Donnell/Phil Mauger of Christchurch fifth in their GT3 while Graeme Rhodes/Phil Rickerby of Christchurch were sixth in their RX7 V8.
Kelly who started the race gave his account. ”I kept it cool and stayed behind Rick (Armstrong) as all I needed to do was to give it to Dan and ultimately we would have the pace to get the job done.” Gaunt added. “We played it pretty cool when I first got in. The car is good as the boys have done a good job between the rounds. It is now eight straight races without a DNF!”
Hamilton lamented several issues that hindered him. “We couldn’t catch Daniel as we had lots of problems. We had a miss out of turn one which gave him the gap. Our paddle shift stopped working so we lost time there and then the miss got worse and worse. It would have been nice to fight it out with Daniel but we weren’t able to.”
Teretonga victors Simon Ellingham/John McIntyre were joined by Jono Lester at this round, the trio taking pole position before Lester took the Porsche into the early lead from the Matt/Dwayne Carter Falcon V8 Supercar, Kelly, Armstrong and the Dippie/O’Donnell car. Armstrong got ahead of Kelly but the big mover was the Bruce Davidson/David Garden Corvette which climbed to fourth place. A safety car after the Toyota Starlet of Stuart Black lost oil causing several cars to spin allowed Lester to pit and hand over to Ellingham. The early change meant Lester had to do more time later in the race moving the Porsche to an extra pitstop. Bagnall went off the track at this point, losing four laps to the leaders. The Carter Falcon with Matt at the wheel led after these incidents from Armstrong, Kelly, Ellingham and Dippie. Bagnall served a drive through penalty and Carter had a lead of over 30 seconds when the next safety car period came after the Porsche of Todd Murphy/Alan Rickerby spun. Ellingham made hard contact in the melee and pitted with panel and radiator damage leaving Lester to take the wheel of the Porsche to check the car out. The other frontrunners took the opportunity to pit and when the race resumed it was the Carter Falcon narrowly in front from Gaunt and Hamilton. Then came Dippie, Van Eekelen/Lawson, Dovey/Bowler, O’Donnell/Mauger, Rhodes/Rickerby, Bagnall/Pedersen and the Andre/Warwick Mortimer BMW. Lester had pitted for a new radiator, dropping well down the order.
Just after midway the Carter Falcon received a drive-through penalty for passing under yellow flags, rejoining in third, leaving Gaunt in the lead from Hamilton. Meanwhile Lester was towed back to the pits in the troubled GT3.
Gaunt pulled a 10 second gap on Hamilton with Carter another 10 seconds back but just after the two hour mark the Falcon pitted with a breakage at the right front of the car. At the same time McIntyre rejoined the race, taking over from Lester.
The safety car reappeared after two and a half hours when the Mortimer BMW which was running well went off the circuit at turn one. Another frontrunner was gone soon after the safety car pulled off when the Van Eekelen Porsche stopped. Kane Lawson was at the wheel when the crank pulley belt came undone having lost power steering 5 laps previously.
The race ran its course with Gaunt and Hamilton repeating last year’s one-two result. Dippie/Scott O’Donnell were one lap behind in third and Bagnall/Pedersen recovered to fourth one lap further back.
The Davidson/Garden Corvette was out early after their impressive start while the Angus McFarlane/Michael Bushell Porsche was a non starter after George McFarlane had issues with the car in the One Hour race.
The top three placegetters – Kelly/Gaunt, Armstrong/Hamilton and Dippie/O’Donnell also took top honours in the GT Class.
Graeme Rhodes/Paul Rickerby (RX7 V8) repeated their Class 1 win from Teretonga two weeks ago ahead of North Islanders Dave Dovey/Andrew Bowler in their BA Falcon and Carl and Steve Kirk-Bunnard (Auckland) in a BMW 135i TT.
Class 2 (2001-3500cc) went to Pat and Ryan Heagney of Blenheim after they finished ninth overall in their Toyota AE86 turbo. Fellow Blenheim crew, Craig and Scott McDermid, were second in their Toyota and the class runner-up from Teretonga - Dean McGuigan partnered this time with Canterbury Motor Racing School operator Chris Hyde was third in a BMW M3.
Class 3&4 (0-2000cc) winners were Paul Coghill/David Hunter of Dunedin in the ex-Kiwi Team Nurburgring Honda Civic ahead of Bruin Beasley/Craig Russell (Renault Megane) and Jeff Vincent (Invercargill)/Daniel Currie (Ohoka) in another Civic.
The series now makes its way to the tight & twisty Levels Raceway circuit in Timaru on 19th October before the Series Grand Finale will be held at the first ever race meeting at the magnificent Highlands Motorsport Park, Cromwell on Saturday 9th November, where the overall series champion will be awarded the ‘South Canterbury Toyota Cup’. Thanks to Series sponsor ASKO Appliances as well as Mobil 1, Paul Kelly Motor Company, Hagley Aluminium & Southern Finance Ltd, the Series will again have a prizemoney pool of $30,000- that will be paid out for 2013, as well as major spot prizes up for grabs to a competitors in either the One Hour or Three Hour Series.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.