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Ups and Downs for Invercargill Locals in NZV8 Class

Ups and Downs for Invercargill Locals in NZV8 Touring Cars TL Class While Ross Takes Lead in TLX

Local drivers Liam MacDonald and Grant Molloy turned it on over the weekend at Invercargill's Teretonga Park claiming first and third place overall respectively in the NZV8 Touring Cars TL Class Championship.

Meanwhile in the NZV8 Touring Cars TLX Class Championship Nick Ross moved into the lead with two race wins to Jason Bargwanna's one with a weekend which could not have been more in contrast in terms of luck between the two V8 combatants.

Local driver 16 year old Liam MacDonald has only a mere three rounds of NZV8TC racing under his belt from last season yet put in a strong effort to claim the TL class round win and his first ever race win in any category.

"My best was a third in Timaru last year, today I got a first and a round win so I'm pretty happy with that." said MacDonald.

"I like the track at Timaru and hope to go well there next weekend, this weekend was pretty rough for most people but we just had a little damage at the front nothing major." he said.

Where MacDonald had a relatively smooth incident free weekend while putting in some mature drives to score sixth, first and a second place, his fellow Southlander Grant Molloy overcame a shocking run of misfortune to claim his second third overall placing from two rounds.

Molloy was perhaps the fastest TL driver on the circuit utilising his home advantage but was repeatedly unable to convert that speed into points with racing incidents and penalties hindering his course.

Finishing first in the opening race, Molloy was then awarded a post-race drive through which converted into a time penalty moving him from first to third after officials deemed him to have jumped the rolling start.

Another penalty in race two placed him down the order once more and in the final race of the weekend was knocked sideways in spectacular fashion along with Shaun Varney while running down the main straight at full speed putting an end to both driver's races.

"It was a tough weekend we obviously thought we were going to have home advantage but things just didn't go our way." said Molloy.

"We got a ripper start in the 25 lapper and I think we were second overall at one point, we were first in class when I think Bargs may have hit Shaun Varney and then he went into me and turned me around and was put out. But the consolation is we got third and are still in the hunt for the championship." he said.

Wellington's Brock Cooley was able to secure third overall from the weekend with his best result from the three races being a second place in the final.

Nick Ross now holds the lead in the NZV8 Touring Car TLX Class Championship after winning two races to Jason Bargwanna's one.

Overcoming mechanical problems in Friday's qualifying which put him out of the Top 10 Shootout, Ross was able to move from the rear of the field in race one to get around Toyota"s A J Lauder shortly before Australian driver Bargwanna retired from the lead with a mechanical failure.

In the second race and on wet tyres Ross struggled for grip and was no match for the flying Australian who in his Toyota Camry pulled a huge lead on the Holden driver finishing with a clear advantage.

"What a weekend! I can't complain, after qualifying I was a bit worried but luckily the engine wasn't as bad as we thought it was and was an easy fix but we were lucky we didn't blow it." said Ross.

"Lady luck was very much on our side this weekend, in the first race we may have been catching him (Bargwanna) once we got past A J (Lauder) but in the second race we just didn't have anything for him and were struggling for grip on the wets in the end." he said.

In the final race of the weekend Bargwanna pulled out ahead and for a while it looked as though there may have been a repeat of the morning's race on the cards.

However Ross was the first to take his compulsory stop and once both driver's pitstops were completed it was he who had the advantage as the pair tackled the slower TL cars many of which were now ahead.

"In the last race what a weird one that was, the boys did an awesome job in the pitstop and got me back out ahead of Bargwanna and he had an incident while behind me." he said.

Bargwanna made contact with Holden driver Ian Booth leaving the Toyota billowing tyre smoke and enough damage to force an unschedued pitstop.

That incident caused a safety car period while Booth was pulled off the gravel closing up the pack once more and looking to be an exciting restart.

The race was put under safety car again shortly after the restart when Shaun Varney and Grant Molloy both went hurtling sideways in puffs of tyre smoke after contact was made between them and Jason Bargwanna at full speed.

The race was eventually stopped prematurely due to suspected oil on the main straight leaving Nick Ross as the winner.

Bargwanna clearly had the pace to perhaps win the weekend after taking pole and being the first driver to put the New Generation NZV8s around Teretonga Park in under a minute with a 59.909.

"We should have won the weekend, the car was fast we got around the circuit under a minute, took the fastest lap, pole position, one race win." said Bargwanna.

"We had a slow pitstop for some reason, we had a five second lead and it all just went pear shaped, we just had a bit of bad luck." he said.

Ford driver Shaun Varney from Auckland picked up third place overall and although damaged his car is expected to be ready and on the grid for next weekend's race at Timaru International Motor Raceway.


Images provided by NZV8 Touring Cars for publication.


Race One (Saturday)
NZV8 Touring Cars TLX
1st Nick Ross Cambridge Holden Commodore
2nd A J Lauder Turua Toyota Camry
3rd Shaun Varney Auckland Ford Falcon

NZV8 Touring Cars TL
1st Brad Lauder Turua Ford Falcon
2nd Bronson Porter Hamilton Holden Commodore
3rd Grant Molloy Invercargill Ford Falcon

Race Two (Sunday)
NZV8 Touring Cars TLX
1st Jason Bargwanna Australia Toyota Camry
2nd Nick Ross Cambridge Holden Commodore
3rd A J Lauder Turua Toyota Camry

NZV8 Touring Cars TL
1st Liam MacDonald Invercargill Ford Falcon
2nd Bronson Porter Hamilton Holden Commodore
3rd James McLaughlin Lower Hutt Holden Commodore

Race Three
NZV8 Touring Cars TLX
1st Nick Ross Cambridge Holden Commodore
2nd A J Lauder Turua Toyota Camry
3rd Jason Bargwanna Australia Toyota Camry

NZV8 Touring Cars TL
1st Liam MacDonald Invercargill Ford Falcon
2nd Brock Cooley Wellington Ford Falcon
2rd Grant Molloy Invercargill Ford Falcon


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