Mauger Makes His Mark In Weekend’s First Historic Touring Car Series Race At Teretonga
It was like a round of the British Touring Car Championship from its heyday in the late 1990s/early 2000s all over again on the first day of competition at the final round of this season’s Archibald’s Historic Touring Car Series at the new-look George Begg Classic Speedfest at Invercargill’s Teretonga Park this afternoon.
Event host Scott O’Donnell, (Prodrive Ford Mondeo) qualified quickest and stroked away to an early lead only be reeled back in by a chasing pack of Phil Mauger (ex-Team Dynamics Nissan Primera), Nigel Arkell (ex-North American Touring Car Championship Honda Accord) and Arron Black (GP A BMW E30 M3).
One minute O’Donnell looked like a shoe-in to win the race on home soil, the next he was being chewed up and spat to the back, eventually crossing the finish line in fourth place.
“These cars really are on knife edge,” O’Donnell said afterwards,” And I think that Phil and obviously now Nigel have learned how to stay on it for longer before losing their balance than I have!
“Still the crowd seemed to like it and as we keep telling each other we are racing these cars for the pleasure of seeing them being used as they were intended not for sheep stations.”
The result was that Mauger not only managed to get to the front of the pack, he also – somehow – managed to stay there, crossing the finish line just over a second in front of the always impressive Arron Black with series newcomer Nigel Arkell third, in front of Scott O‘Donnell who in turn was just in front of his uncle, Lindsay O’Donnell (Volvo S40) who was 5th.
Sixth was another strong result for Steven Kelly in his newly-acquired ex-Australia BMW E36 Supetourer while 7th was local lad Liam McDonald (ex-Team Kiwi Nissan Primera) finally beating fellow NZTC-Spec pace-man Kevin Pateman (Ford Telstar V6) to the line.
There are two more races for the Archibald’s Historic Touring Car Series tomorrow, with one 6-lap sprint first thing in the morning and a second mid-afternoon.