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Manfeild a critical weekend for NZ Championships

This weekend’s 14-16 April Super Sprint MotorSport New Zealand Championship racing is make or break for many of the drivers chasing for the top title – at the Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon.

A total of six competition categories are on the schedule, many for their penultimate time this 2023 season.

For the Golden Homes GT New Zealand contestants, it is their season finale – the winner taking a New Zealand Championship title.

Leading the Open Class is Auckland youngster Marco Giltrap in the Sixt Porsche 991. In second and 32 points behind is the Aedifice Porsche 991 of Mana Malmezac while Luke Manson (Porsche 991) is close behind in third.

In the GT4 category Auckland’s Jono McFarlane (Mercedes) leads Christchurch’s Nigel Cromie (McLaren 570S) by 50 points. Third is Stephen Harrison (Aston Martin).

Toyota’s TR 86 Championship starts its penultimate round with Matakana’s Brock Gilchrist touted as having one hand on the title. The 19-year-old has a 90-point lead over Morrinsville’s Clay Osborne.

Throughout the season Gilchrist has stuck to the theme of taking the series one race at a time and not considering the championship. While steadfast keeping to his plan he says there is pressure to hold the advantage: “The focus now is on staying clean and just keep gathering points, so I have a nice advantage going into the last round. Just get good points in the first race and get whatever I can from the second.”

The RYCO 24.7 V8 Utes take to Manfeild for their third round of four. Returning to the birthplace of V8 ute racing in New Zealand, the series is headed by Waikato’s Brad Kroef, son of third placed Greg Kroef. Wedged in-between is Waikato’s Phil Ross. A total of 12 are expected to take to the race grid, including previous campaigner and Manfeild local Geoff Spencer.

It is also a critical weekend for the Valvoline D1NZ Chamionship with the Pro class heading into round four of five. Led by defending champion ‘Fanga’ Dan Woolhouse, this weekend will define those in with a chance of the championship title. If Woolhouse gets knocked out before the top-eight battle, as happened recently, the floodgates of opportunity open. After three rounds there are ten who are within reach of the top prize.

Traditionally Manfeild rewards those with experience of the track – in particular the final turn, which starts fast and tightens on the exit.

Also at round four of five, the TradeZone GTRNZ returns to Manfeild with a grid of 50 cars. Home to a huge variety of racing cars the weekend entry will introduce a race winning Mazda RX7 and 600hp Mitsubishi Evo 6 at the front end of the field – to mix it with the Tranzam cars.

Waiuku’s Kerry Jones leads the top of the standings in his Corvette Tranzam, 47 points ahead of Auckland’s Wayne Conder in a similar Tranzam. Mt Maunganui’s Todd Murphy is third in his Hyundai SuperTourer.

Wrapping up their 2023 season the Giltrap Group North Island Formula Ford series will contest only the Friday and Saturday of the three-day event.

Auckland 18-year-old Dylan Grant heads the series, with a 33-point lead over second placed Blake Dowdall and 35 ahead of third placed Mason Potter.

With 302 points up for grabs there is a chance for an upset of the podium placings. Saturday’s final 12 lap race is a double point benefit and will confirm the title winner.

Action starts on Friday morning 14 April with practice sessions for each category. Saturday is qualifying and racing for each – while D1NZ ends the day with the top-24 battle session.

Sunday morning continues with race action and ends with the top-eight D1NZ battle. The afternoon concludes the race schedule before the D1NZ shoot-out to find the round winner.

The day will be televised live to Sky Sport (from 9am) and TV3 (from 1pm).

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