The Nexen Tyre NZ Mazda Racing Series heads to Euromarque Motorsport Park at Ruapuna in Christchurch this weekend with an absolutely stunning line up. It is a massive entry with close to thirty cars and the quality of the drivers set to contest the event guarantees a thrilling weekend of racing.
The event is Round 3 of the South Island Championship and the first of four National Rounds of which two take place in the South Island and two in the North Island.
As the reigning National Champion Simon Baker of Wellington will be one of the favourites. Baker, who was also the National Champion in the 2020/2021 season, has only contested one round of the North Island Championship this season but he was very competitive on that occasion, qualifying fastest, finishing second for the round and setting a new lap record at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon. However, it will be hard fought at the front of the field with Chris White of Prebbleton in Canterbury currently leading both the North and South Island Championships. White was the runner-up to Baker in last year’s National Championship.
There are several others who will keep this duo honest. Will Kitching of Timaru comes off a round win at his home circuit last time out and sits just 15 points behind White in the South Island Championship while Leo Bult of Auckland set a new lap record at Euromarque Motorsport Park, last season.
Stiaan Kriel, a South African living in Auckland, debuted at the second round of the North Island Championship and recorded a win in one of the races. He is part of a strong contingent from the North Island including seasoned campaigners such as Aucklanders Warren Crowther, third in last year’s New Zealand Championship, plus Karl Gaines, Steve Brown, Lance Gerlach, Elton Wichman, Sam Dashfield and James Parker, plus Stuart Lawton of Wellington, Rotorua driver Scott Davies and Masterton’s Matt Horne. As well as White and Kitching some of the South Island’s best such as Matt Dodd (Christchurch) and Dalan Price (Swannanoa) will be right amongst the action.
Two rookies from the South Island, Mac Templeton of Prebbleton and Arthur Broughan of Tuamarina, near Blenheim were also impressive on debut at the recent second round of the South Island Championship.
In the Historic Class Ken Thompson of Dunedin who was the Historic Champion in 2021/2022 enters the fray in his Series 1 RX7.
Testing for the event takes place on Friday with two twenty-minute sessions for the Nexen Tyre NZ Mazda Racing Series competitors. A 15-minute qualifying session at 9.36am on Saturday morning will establish the grid for the opening race of the weekend over 10 laps at 12.55pm that afternoon.
On Sunday morning at 9.36am the competitors will line up for a 12-lap race with a reverse top ten grid from the previous days finishing order with the third and final race, a 10-lapper with a grid based on points scored to that point of the weekend, timed to start at 1.43pm.
The round is part of the Super Sprint Motorsport NZ Championship and will feature live on Sky Sport.