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Hot Race Action From Ruapuna

Hot Race Action From Ruapuna
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With track temperatures reaching 46 over the weekend, and even higher temperatures in the cockpits, the drivers certainly earned respect from the fans as they put on an entertaining display of driving skills and tactics.

International Motorsport GT3 drivers Jonny Reid and Andrew Bagnall had a consistent weekend of speed, while Mitchell Cunningham and Simon Evans, although demonstrating that they were on the pace had a weekend of frustrating bad luck, with damaging nudges and off-track excursions.

Team driver Jonny Reid fought off attacks from current GT3 Champion Craig Baird and Rookie Earl Bamber to finish the weekend in second place behind Daniel Gaunt, repeating the result he’d had three weeks earlier in Pukekohe Reid showed regimented skill in positioning his Rayglass/Giltrap Group GT3 in 2nd place for each of the three races, securing second overall for the weekend. Although he retains his 2nd position in the series, he is no closer to championship leader Gaunt who also demonstrated consistency by finishing first in each race. Reid heads away from Ruapuna with 377 points, 52 from Gaunt who has 429.

Andrew Bagnall achieved the International Motorsport star-player award for the weekend with an outright race win in the open-class three-hour endurance race on Saturday afternoon, shared with Ant Pedersen who was not competing in the GT3 series over the weekend. As well as competing in the GT3 Cup races, Bagnall started the non-points three-hour race on pole position and drove a steady race to hand the car over to Pedersen at the half-way point in the lead, where the young Palmerston North driver picked up the reins and brought the Life Pharmacy GT3 home in first place, two laps ahead of the chasing pack.

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Mitchell Cunningham continued to show consistency, but was plagued with being in the wrong place at the wrong time most of the weekend. Keeping out of trouble in Race 1, Cunningham showed good pace and finished in 4th place, however if it wasn’t for a tangle with Baird in Race 2 where he was forced to pit after impacting with Baird, and then going off track to avoid Scott Harrison in Race 3, Cunningham would have had a solid weekend. He has managed to retain his third position in the series with 301 points, however the gap between him and Reid has widened to 76.

Young Simon Evans had a weekend to forget in the GT3 996 class, not getting further than the end of Lap 1 in the first two races of the weekend, both times sustaining radiator damage after contact with other cars. However, he made up for the disappointment by winning Race 3, keeping his hopes alive in the series.

The Mondiale / Audi Dealer Network Audi S3 had a weekend of development and testing, with the car showing signs of having good pace, although getting the consistency is currently a challenge as the team continue to work on performance improvement.

Round 3 of the Race Championship Series heads further south to Teretonga Park at Invercargil on 14-16 January 2011.

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