Collins Made To Work For First F5000 Win At Taupo This Weekend
Defending series title-holder Michael Collins (Leda LT27/GM1) might have qualified on pole and gone on to lead the first SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series race of the weekend at the second round at the big Taupo Historic GP meeting at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park this afternoon from start to finish.
But with fellow category young Codie Banks (Lola T332) joining him on the front row of the grid for the first time after a stand-out performance in the category qualifying session earlier in the day, then stalking him relentlessly for the first half of the eight lap race Collins admitted afterwards that he had his work cut out to stay in front.
“There was definitely no cutting out a couple of hot laps then going into cruise mode,” Collins said afterwards. “ I had my ears pinned back from the first lap until the last..”
With his father David’s Talon MR1/A side-lined on Friday by a broken half shaft, son Codie Banks’ speed and confidence in qualifying and as he matched Michael Collins move for move for the first four laps of the eight lap race looked like just the fillip his family-based and run team needed.
It was not to be, however, as a gear selection issue rearing its head on the fourth lap and his race ended in the pits on the fifth (lap).
“First I couldn’t find a gear to change down into then it took me half the length of the start/finish straight to get it started again… but when I did I couldn’t find any gears, so figured it was time to stop.” Banks said.
Behind Collins and Banks, former New Zealand Formula Ford champion Kevin Ingram (Lola T332) from Feilding qualified third quickest and inherited second place with a gap back to Brett Willis – driving his new Lola T332 – who managed to work his way up from 6th spot on the grid.
Early on fourth quickest qualifier Glenn Richards (Lola T400) from Auckland was part of the top six battle pack, until a half-spin saw him slip back down though the field.
That left Shayne Windelburn (Lola T400) and Anna Collins (Leda LT27) to inherit 4th & 5th places respectively with Russel Greer (Lola T332) 6th and Glen Richards 7th, Tony Galbraith (Lola T332) qualified in 9th place but also ended his race in the pits, in his case thanks to a fuel starvation issue.
Behind Richards, Tim Rush (McLaren M22) put in an absolute storming drive to cross the finish line in 8th place and claim victory in the Class A standings from fellow McLaren drivers Frank Karl (M10B), Tony Roberts (high-wing McLaren M10A) and category new face Toby Annabell (McLaren M10B).
Roberts got the jump on Karl and Annabell but after spending most of the race tucked in behind the Roberts’ M10A, Karl finally found a way alongside then past and was then able to ease away.
Tomorrow brings two more races for the SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 series, a special handicap-start one in the morning, and the Taupo Historic Grand Prix in the afternoon.
The Taupō Historic GP runs over two-days, 23 and 24 January 2021. As well as races for Formula 5000s, the event features demonstrations of many historic Ford racing and rally cars, races for Historic Muscle and Saloon Cars, Formula Junior, Historic Sports Racing and other Invited Historic Cars, Historic Formula Fords, Historic Sports Sedans & Allcomers, and TraNZams, plus displays of Ford models spanning 60 years of motoring in New Zealand assembled by members of multiple Ford-Owner clubs from around the country.
The SAS Autoparts, MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series is organised and run with the support of sponsors SAS Autoparts, MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney's Specialised Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Pacifica, Avon Tyres, Webdesign and Exide Batteries.