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Conroy Keeps championship Lead Despite Problems



Conroy Keeps championship Lead Despite Problems

Invercargill driver Jamie Conroy has kept his lead in the New Zealand Formula Ford Championship despite battling a mysterious engine problem throughout Round 4 of the series at Hampton Downs, North Waikato, this weekend.

Much was made of the fact that Conroy had never driven on the Hampton Downs circuit prior to the weekend but after just 8 laps on Friday and a short session on Saturday morning he made light of that fact and showed he can come to grips with circuits very quickly. Jamie spent much of Saturday's session dicing with motor racing legend Ken Smith who was moved to visit crew member Wal Wilmott after the session to inquire who was driving the car and pass an opinion that "the kid can drive." Jamie also really enjoyed the encounter and the fact he was running with a true kiwi motor racing icon. 

However a difficult to trace gremlin frustrated Jamie for much of the weekend. The problem surfaced in qualifying, leaving Jamie and his Mygale fifth on the grid for the first race. Conroy described the problem - "the car is fine at the end of the straights but when you exit a corner it is just really slow and everyone else just pulls away."

The team thought they had found the problem prior to the the first race but as soon as Conroy took to the track it was evident that the issue had not been cured and Conroy brought the car home fifth. A lot of work was done overnight with the carburettor, distributor and coil all being replaced and on Sunday morning Conroy returned to the form he has shown throughout the series to rack up win number ten in great style, making several good passes as he carved his way to the front.

Conroy was on pole for the third and final race for the Ron Frost Memorial Trophy with Ken Smith alongside. Conroy made a great start and leapt into a good lead only for the same problem to return after just one lap. That saw the Southlander fall to fourth at the finish. "It feels as though the car is starving for fuel," said Jamie as he summed up his race. 

However Conroy has retained the championship lead and the team will test at Taupo Motorsport Park this week before the penultimate round of the championship takes place at Manfeild Park, Feilding as a support event to the New Zealand Grand Prix next weekend.

Jamie Conroy's Formula Ford campaign is supported by Horgan Farms, Evolution Motorsport, Progressive Engineering Southland Ltd, Waikato Milking Systems, Gulf, John Deere, Gallagher, SP Tools, Hydraulink, George Wilson Sales Ltd, Sievwright Auto, PPG, E Hayes, Southern Wide Real Estate, Radcliffe Electrical and R & A Williams. 


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