Entries for this round were huge and had to be capped a few weeks out from the event, with plenty of drivers wanting to take advantage of the atmosphere provided by the ‘show and shine’ hall, burnouts, drifting, and cruising sessions all squeezed into the same action-packed day as the track sessions.
Glenn Hodges was determined to pull out all the stops to secure his class lead for Street – rear-wheel drive (RWD) — in his beautifully presented 300ZX, so when his trailer hire fell through on the Friday before the event, he did what nobody expected and built a trailer from scratch in his workshop, got it registered, and got himself to the track to post a new PB of 1:20.427.
However, Glenn’s extreme efforts weren’t enough to hold off Shamil Arachchie’s impressive 1:18.395 in the number 69 Supra, which secured him the class win on the day. Special mention has to go to Bradley Haines’ multi-duty Silvia S14 that made the drive down from Auckland and home again under its own — albeit slightly loud — power. This is a great example of what the Street classes are really about.
The J-Tune Performance team finally had some more competition for the front-wheel drive (FWD) Street class, however they still comfortably won the class with a time of 1:21.805, which was five seconds ahead of Richard Walker in his spinning Civic.
Street all-wheel drive (AWD) entries were dominated by the Wellington Evolution crew, in fact only one non-Evo made an appearance, and that was Emil Roshan’s immaculate Skyline, which posted consistent times all day to take out the runner-up spot.
The win went to Brad Jesson’s Evo on a super time of 1:19.499, before his day was cut short by a fire due to a power-steering fault. Thankfully there was no damage that a bit of elbow grease and a clean up from Jesson’s dad and partner couldn’t solve.
Pro Street was the race everyone was waiting to see: Iain Clegg’s 670kW-plus ST Hitec R35 GTR versus Barry Manon’s MRP Ltd Toyota Levin GTZ, which is currently running at 340kW at the wheels.
Both drivers were neck and neck throughout the day, posting times around the 1:15 mark, and both suffered mechanical issues, including catastrophic axle issues on the Levin, which the 0GRIP pit crew worked endlessly to replace and repair. The little Levin made it a clean sweep of five from five in the season so far, with a best time of 1:14.140 with Iain right on his tail with 1:14.505 for the second spot.
This class draws a wide range of vehicles, with Andy Glasgow and Ethan James taking third and fourth spots in their Mitsubishi Evos, Sebastian Frances’ wide-body pulsar, and the MacMorris Racing team’s Mazda MPS pair being just a few of the entries.
The Pro Open class expectedly took out the quickest time of the day thanks to Scott Kreyl in his number 666 Evo, though he was plagued by a lack of power and could only set a 1:10.606, which was significantly slower than his 1:08 lap time at the same round last year.
Leon Scott from Leon Scott Motorsport flew into second spot with 1:12.691, taking three seconds off last year’s effort.
The battle for the final podium spot came down to just a tenth of a second, with David Thomsen’s Mirage at 1:16.732 just holding off Jason Shortt’s WRX at 1:16.835.
Jason and the team at Highbrook Automotive were rebuilding and reinstalling the gearbox until late on Friday night, only to have radiator issues forcing him to miss two race sessions. But some hard work in the pits meant he was able to get back out for the top-ten shootout and sink half a tank of fuel in the cruising sessions.
Corey Smith and his Skyline set a 1:19.433 before the Skyline coughed up a ball of flames and was out for the rest of the day, while Andrew Wasley’s Integra was super consistent and finished up on 1:20.069. Wrapping up the Pro Open field was Wade Mitchell’s Pulsar that just got faster and faster throughout the day, for a best of 1:21.351.
It’s now fewer than four weeks until round six, which sees the drivers return to Taupo Motorsport Park.