Mild Manawatu weather treated competitors at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon with Saturday’s race programme adding another haul of points toward those chasing championship aspirations.
The seventh round of the SuperSprint MotorSport New Zealand Championship, each of the categories contested an opening race toward their respective title.
In the Toyota TR 86 Championship the pendulum swung the other way with Morrinsville’s Clay Osborne topping qualifying. He was able to convert that into a race win, edging closer to current points leader Brock Gilchrist, of Matakana. Gilchrist finished seventh – a better position for Sunday morning’s second top-10 reverse grid race.
“Yes, it is game on now,” said a delighted Osborne. “We mucked up the start a bit but came back strong [to win the race].
“While I’m thinking of the championship, the focus is on staying consistent, staying up the front and we will see what we can do.”
The Giltrap Group North Island Formula Ford series wrapped up their 2023 season with three races today. It was a long shot by Palmerston North’s Blake Dowdall to overtake points leader Dylan Grant (Auckland). Needing to win all three races and claim pole position it started with the ultimate outcome however a third in the opening race made swung the title back to Grant. For his efforts, 15-year-old Dowdall won the round and closed the gap on Grant to within 11 points.
Dylan Grant left Manfeild the provisional 2023 title winner, with a win and two thirds.
In the RYCO 24.7 V8 Ute race Jake Stoneman took a haul of points out of series leader Brad Kroef. Winning the eight-lap race from pole, Stoneman cleared away to leave the Kroef family to work their way through the field and into his rear-view mirror. Brad Kroef finished third, behind his dad Greg.
The two-grid TradeZone GTRNZ field raised the volume with a group of 19 cars in the faster GT1/GT2 field and 34 in GT3/GT4. It was advantage Kerry Jones (Tranzam) in the faster competition group with Benjamin Goebel (Subaru Legacy) winning the latter.
Francois Beziac and Jono Lester claimed victory in race one of the Golden Homes GT NZ Championship, with Joel Giddy taking victory in the GT4 class aboard his Mercedes AMG.
The hour-long race finished with Marco Giltrap second and Paul Pedersen finishing in third. In the GT4 category, Todd Bawden finished second in his McLaren, with Grant Aitken in a Porsche third.
There was some unfortunate drama before the race started, with Open Class title contender Heremana Malmezac stranded in the pits. An apparent fuel pump issue in his Porsche, preventing him from starting the race.
Completing the top-24 run-off for the weekend’s Valvoline D1NZ Pro Championship, defending champion Fanga Dan Woolhouse topped qualifying. The champ also showed how quickly fortunes change when he slid from the circuit on the in-field section during the final practice.
The D1NZ battles conclude on Sunday with a morning cut to top-eight. The day ends with the run-off for the final.
Again forecast for mild and even warmer weather, Sunday’s racing features two races for each of the remaining categories. The action is televised live from 9am to Sky Sport 5 and Fox Sports Australia (including Pasifika TV). TV3 will air coverage from 1pm.
Sunday’s race action is live to television.