Conroy Takes First Touring Car Win at Taupo
11 DECEMBER 2016
CONROY TAKES FIRST TOURING CAR WIN AT TAUPO
After a tough introduction to the BNT NZ Touring Car Championship at Pukekohe last month, Invercargill driver Jamie Conroy has shown his ability in Round 2 of the championship at the Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park at Taupo this weekend.
Conroy had a multitude of problems on debut at Pukekohe but after returning home to rectify some of the issues he faced in his Touring Car debut he finished second by the barest of margins in the latest round of the championship at Taupo. The round was highlighted by the Southlander's first win in the category, in just his fifth race start.
Conroy qualified the Allied 24/7 Fuel Falcon second fastest although he was left "gutted" as on his quickest lap he dropped a couple of wheels off the circuit, costing him what would have been his first pole position in the class. He then raced to second place in the opening race of the weekend on Saturday afternoon. Conroy led most of the way, only losing the lead near the end after the field closed up after a safety car period. It was a noteworthy performance, particularly as it was the first time Conroy had driven the Allied 24/7 Fuel Falcon in the wet. "I had no idea how the car was going to handle in the wet. I only had the warm up lap to judge things. You have to be quite rough on the gearchange in these cars and at Taupo you are changing gear mid corner which can unsettle the car. The safety car was pretty gutting because coming so late in the race I thought that was it. I thought we might be under safety car to the end. We broke a wheel stud prior to the race and had to fix that rather than getting our set-up dead right. Liam (fellow Southlander Liam MacDonald) did a great job though to win the race."
The next morning Conroy took his first win in the series in just his fifth race start when he came through from fourth in the reverse top five grid. He was involved in a great three-way battle with Brad Lathrope and Chelsea Herbert until Herbert spun. Conroy tagged her as she spun in front of him and then he struggled with straightline speed in his pursuit of Lathrope. "With Taupo being at higher altitude and the air being less dense we probably lacked the right jetting. I couldn't do much about Brad unless he made a mistake and he did."
The third and final race of the weekend was another mixture of wet and dry conditions. The race developed into a great battle between the Southlanders, Jamie and Liam MacDonald, with MacDonald winning from Conroy. "Liam did an awesome job," said Jamie. When the points were totalled from the three races Conroy was second overall for the round, just one point behind MacDonald.
Conroy's campaign in the BNT NZ Touring Car Championship is supported by Allied 24/7 Fuel, Mobil 1, Horgan Farms, Southland Continuous Group, Sievwright Panel & Paint, PPG, Bluff Engineering & Welding, Choppa Tyres, E Hayes & Sons and Southern Probuilt Engines.
BNT NZ TOURING CARS - 2016/2017 SEASON
Round 1: Pukekohe Park Raceway - 4-6 November 2016 (ITM 400 V8 SUPERCAR MEETING)
Round 2: Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park, Taupo - 10/11 December 2016
Round 3: Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna, Christchurch - 13-15 January 2017
Round 4: Teretonga Park, Invercargill - 21/22 January 2017
Round 5: Manfeild: Circuit Chris Amon, Feilding - 11-12 February 2017 (NEW ZEALAND GRAND PRIX MEETING)
Round 6: Hampton Downs International Motorsport Park - 11/12 March 2017