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Kiwi Codie Banks Dominates Trans-Tasman F5000 Racing

Flying the New Zealand flag at the Phillip Island Classic-‘Festival of Motorsport’, Auckland’s Codie Banks led a Kiwi 1-2 at this afternoon’s second race for the SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series.

Banks (Lola T332 HU 16) has so far topped every session from Friday’s qualifying to now amass three consecutive race wins.

The largest historic motorsport event in the Southern Hemisphere, there are ten Kiwi teams contesting the season’s fourth and trans-Tasman leg of the series.

“It’s pretty cool to win three races and it be my first time in a F5000 at Phillip Island,” said an elated Codie Banks.

The accolades continued: “I’m also the only driver to be in the 1m29sec bracket. Not only that, it’s such an amazing place to race,” he added. “Also a special thanks too to SAS Autoparts, BP race fuels and my mum and dad.”

And his secret to success? “Driving the car hard, having a good time and being at one with it,” he described at the continuity of results.

Drive of the day would have gone to dad David Banks in the Talon MR1. Setting second-fastest time (behind Codie) in Friday’s qualifying, Banks finished third in Friday’s four-lap race. During Saturday morning’s five-lap race he spun early in what was described as a first.

Starting 21st for the afternoon shortened race of six laps, Banks swathed through to eighth by the first lap and then up to second before having to retire with overheating.

“All going well it looks like it could be a head gasket. We have a new one coming and expect to be up and running again by the morning,” explained Banks.

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“It was hot out there, the track was above 50degC and I’ve blistered two tyres. I’ve got old tyres that have been through a few heat cycles so hopefully they will hold up for tomorrow.”

Only 24 of the original 35 car field finished the afternoon race. Second behind Banks jnr was Kiwi Tony Galbraith (Lola T332). Galbraith started from fourth, having finished fourth in the morning race. Third fastest in the F5000 category was Kiwi Bruce Kett (Lola T332) in eighth. Kett finished fifth behind Galbraith in the morning race.

Joining Banks snr on the side-lines was the Lola T332 of Kevin Ingram. Chasing fuel issues, the final straw came when he lost oil pressure – and is now retired from the weekend.

Leading the A category cars was Kiwi Tony Roberts (McLaren M10A) when he posted 24th fastest time in Friday’s qualifying. He turned that into a 19th place in the afternoon race, followed by Grant Clearwater (M10A) in 29th, Frank Karl (M10B) 30th while Toby Annabell’s McLaren M10B missed the start. Roberts improved in the morning’s race to 18th, with a 17th in the afternoon race.

The group are paying particular attention to their on-track company to ensure their integrity ahead of a supporting appearance at the Australia Grand Prix – 21-24 March.

While Sunday’s weather is predicted to be slightly cooler, the above 30degC temperature is expected to again push track conditions above 50.

With three races left to run it’s the early afternoon eight-lap race that carries the grand prize. The Phillip Island Formula 5000 GP race winner will be awarded the inaugural Kevin Bartlett trophy, arranged by organisers VHRR.

Bartlett, a former Bathurst 1000 race winner has taken special interest in today’s race winning car – expecting to join the dots on it being a car he originally owned.

“Kev Bartlett has verified it is the car he drove at Pukekohe, crashed, rebuilt, sold to Bruce Allison, and was raced by Johnnie Walker when he won the Australian Grand Prix in 1979,” added Codie Banks – with the car back in Magnum Wheels livery.

Continuing to support the SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series in its 21st season are SAS Autoparts, MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney's Specialised Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Avon Tyres, Webdesign, Exide Batteries and Pacifica Shipping – who sea freight the cars for the New Zealand events.

© Scoop Media

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