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Master and Apprentice excel at Father’s Day 400

Master and Apprentice excel at Father’s Day 400

Fresh from NASCAR duties for Kyle Busch V8 maestro Owen Kelly teamed up with 20 year-old Richard Moore for the inaugural V8SuperTouers Endurance event. Despite it being Kelly’s first ever run at Taupo and Moore’s first run in a V8SuperTourer at the Ricoh Motorsport park the team nailed a fourth spot in both races.

In Saturday’s midday qualifying the Skinny Mobile in 6th and 12th respectively was not the start the duo wanted. The discovery of a faulty suspension component meant by the late Saturday afternoon guest hot laps the balance had returned to the car and confidence if not pride was restored.

Kelly: “I just knew we shouldn’t have been nearly a second off pole” and Moore had similar reservations “I was flat spotting tyres and seriously thinking my last weekend’s KZ2 kart race had got my balance off but thankfully not!”

Moore kicked off the first stint solidly but almost immediately the Skinny car began laying down a nasty smoke stream. Engineer Barry Ryan quietly urged Moore to ignore the mirrors and push on to the pit stop window. In the process the Skinny car picked off a couple of places despite the commentators doubts she would finish and then the real miracles started. The pit stop solved the mechanical issue and with the duo nailing a stunningly fast driver change that leapfrogged a number of slower teams, this left Kelly with a great car and confidence to do what he does best: Smooth precise passing manoeuvres that finished the first stint in a an inspired 4th.

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With just 20 minutes for fuel the M3 team did a great job with, minor repairs, bandages for bruises on front quarter and new set of Hankook slicks and the Skinny car was on the dummy grid with Kelly to start the next 56 lap challenge.

Here Owen showed his experience pushing hard through the field to hand the car over in a solid third place. Another slick driver change late in the window and Moore had the job of bringing home a podium finish. Unfortunately a healthy gap to seasoned campaigner McIntyre was instantly eroded with a Safety-Car for track debris and the drama started to unfold. It later transpired Safety-Cars may have been called due to officials concerns that the distance was too great for some cars to complete the already shortened 56 laps.

With M3 teammates Nick Cassidy and Jack Perkins up the road in second Moore upped the pace but a McIntyre clearly inspired by NASCAR tactics hammered the rear of Moore’s car to the point of receiving a un-sportsmanship warning. The pressure mounted and Moore finally lost the spot at the hairpin only to take it straight back off the home-boy with a clean dive into the front straight chicane. McIntyre’s strategy of a rear tyre change in the pit window told however and the Skinny car’s grip on the circuit was rapidly going away with the inevitable result and the team came in a solid 4th place once again.

Moore commented following the race, “I was very frustrated that I couldn’t conserve my tires well enough to hold off the team of McIntyre and Lester but it was a valuable lesson in endurance driving. Also the calibre of drivers in the field was simply exceptional, so I was very happy we could put the Skinny Holden right up there and fight with the big boys!”

The endurance series continues at Pukekohe on 27 and 28 October and wraps up at Ruapuna in Christchurch on 24 and 25 November.

ENDS

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