Scoles And Byers Take Wins In Action Packed Rodin Cars Super GT Series Round
It was action aplenty in the opening round of the Rodin Cars Super GT Series at Highlands Motorsport Park this weekend.
It was a tough start to the weekend for the new series with Saturday afternoon’s race one abandoned after a lengthy red-flag period.
Pole sitter, Shane Hodgson made heavy contact with the wall prior to the bridge at the Highlands Circuit, which saw the safety car deployed before eventually going to a red flag.
Hodgson was attended by medical crews before being transported to Queenstown hospital for checks.
With the concrete wall repair taking too long, and as less than the 75-percent minimum race time had not been completed when the race was red-flagged, the race was abandoned with no result given and no points awarded.
With racing resuming on Sunday morning, Steve Scoles driving his Ginetta G55 clinched victory in race two, followed to the line by Grant Aitken in his Porsche Cayman GT4, with Chris Nicholas in his Porsche 997 in third rounding out the podium.
“We’ve had GT4 cars for three years now and to actually win a first race with them is pretty cool," said Scoles.
For the final race of the weekend, the one-hour feature, hot conditions greeted the field – in what turned out to be a battle of attrition.
Multiple safety cars were called, which greatly affected the racing order, and in some cases, taking out race contenders.
The Porsche of Paul Kelly had to retire after lap one, sustaining damage at the bus stop section - colliding with the plastic safety barriers.
By lap nine a safety car was called for a collision between the Porsche’s of Gene Rollinson and Gary Derrick. The duo made contact on the run-up to the bridge, Rollinson ending up in the tyre barrier with Derrick limping off to the other side of the track.
With the safety car deployed, the majority of the field dove into the pit lane for their compulsory pit stops.
A handful of laps later, another incident at the same section of track between the Ginetta of Steve Scoles and the Porsche of Chris Nicholas, saw Nicholas make heavy side-on contact with the wall.
Scoles, had further contact a few corners later, colliding with the rear of the Todd Bawden McLaren. The Ginetta making heavy contact with the concrete wall, and the wounded McLaren limping back to the pits with suspension damage.
After the carnage had been cleaned up, the safety car returned to the pits and it was a 4-minute sprint to the flag, a number of the front runners from earlier in the race, carving their way through the field.
Once one hour was up, it was the Porsche of Ben Byers who claimed the honours followed by Connor Adam, and Martin Dippie grabbing third spot.
“That was crazy, I hope the guys in those incidents were alright. That bridge just owns everybody," said Byers post-race.
“We just stayed out of trouble and kept my nose clean. There was a lot going on with safety cars, it was a crazy race.”
Further down the field, the first of the GT4 cars saw the Aston Martin of Stephen Harrison in sixth, the McLaren of Nigel Cromie in seventh, and David Cremer also in a McLaren in eighth.
The second round of the Rodin Cars Super GT Series will now head to Mike Pero Motorsport Park at Ruapuna, Christchurch next weekend.