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Tough wins for Bargwanna in NZV8 Touring Cars

9 March 2014

Tough wins for Bargwanna in NZV8 Touring Cars

Jason Bargwanna did it the hard way as he won the penultimate round of the New Zealand V8 Touring Car championship at Taupo today.

The former Bathurst winner started the weekend badly when he copped a drive-through penalty in yesterday’s race for hitting his main rival, Nick Ross from Cambridge. Ross won that race with the Aussie recovering to take second.

In this morning’s race Bargwanna won after pulling off a spectacular pass in which his Toyota Camry and Ross’s Holden Commodore went through three successive corners side by side before the Toyota edged in front.

At the second corner of this afternoon’s feature race Bargwanna took a heavy hit from Shaun Varney’s Ford Falcon, both cars spinning off. Varney was out of the race, while Bargwanna rejoined dead last with a big dent in his right rear door.

Bargwanna carved through the whole field and after the compulsory pit stops he emerged just in front of Ross, then carried on to claim his second victory of the day.

“We’ve had to do it the hard way,” Bargwanna, who now holds a solid lead in the championship, said. “I really had to push hard.

“I was a bit disappointed about getting hit like that.”

Bargwanna’s strategy of taking his pit stop late in the race worked better than Ross’s earlier stop, as Ross came out behind a gaggle of the slower TL (original-specification) cars and lost time fighting his way through them.

Ross acknowledged that the Camry was now quicker, although the two cars had been evenly matched earlier in the championship.

“We need to find another second a lap,” he said. “We’ve got a test session booked at Pukekohe.”

The championship concludes at the V8 Supercar meeting in late April at Pukekohe, one of Ross’s favourite tracks.

Lance Hughes from Hamilton was third for the round in the TLX (new-generation) category, driving the Commodore in which Bargwanna won the previous championship.

The TL category saw three different winners: Bronson Porter (Hamilton, Holden), Brad Lauder (Turua, Ford) and James McLaughlin (Lower Hutt, Holden). Lauder had been challenging for the championship but lost vital points when he was unable to start the final race.

McLaughlin’s convincing victory in the feature race was especially praiseworthy as he runs with virtually no sponsorship, unable to afford the new tyres that most of his rivals were using.

“We saved our best tyres till the final race but they were still second-hand,” he said.

Jamie Conroy was “over the moon” as he won the New Zealand Formula Ford championship at his first attempt, with clear victories in all three races at the final round of this series.

“The car was good, it was easy to put the times in,” the 22-year-old Invercargill driver said.

Before this season Conroy had done only club-level racing but he has dominated the Formula Ford championship – traditionally one of the main stepping stones for fast young drivers advancing their careers – in a manner seldom seen in this category, which usually sees very close, hard-fought racing. He was beaten only twice during the 18 races over the season.

Conroy’s next mission is the final round of the South Island Formula Ford championship, where he stands a close second with one round to go. He hopes to compete in the Toyota Racing Series next season, if he can find the necessary sponsorship.

In all three Taupo races Conroy broke away to win by comfortable margins, while Kim Crocker (Tauranga), Aaron Marr (Wanganui), Michael Collins and Ryan Yardley (both Christchurch) fought at close quarters over the next four places. Collins ended runner-up in the championship, with Marr third.

Wellington’s Jamie McNee won the round for the Toyota Finance 86 championship with a win, a second and a third, and ended with a 125-point lead over Aucklander Callum Quin who scored his first victory in this class this morning.

Tom Alexander from Christchurch had been second in the championship but dropped to fourth after he was disqualified from yesterday’s race for hitting Aucklander Andrew Waite, who won the final race. Auckland’s Ashley Blewett is third with one round to go.


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