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Superb weather upturns qualifying results at Taupō

It was a repeat case of qualifying not counting for the race win at Taupō Motorsport Park as Brock Gilchrist (Toyota 86 Championship, Luke Manson (Golden Homes GT New Zealand), Kerry Jones and James Annabell (TradeZone GTRNZ) proved during Saturday’s opening action.

The sixth round of the Super Sprint MotorSport New Zealand Championship, the clearing weather left many in a better race result position than their early morning qualifying efforts.

Opening the race programme was the combined group of GT1 and GT2 classes in the TradeZone GTRNZ field. Starting from pole Brock Cooley (Mazda RX7) retired mid-race, while Kerry Jones (Chevrolet Corvette) streaked to a 6sec lead over Wayne Condor (Chevrolet Corvette).

The following GT3 and GT4 class race delivered a similar result. James Annabell (Dodge Viper) pipped Waka Nathan Harris (Holden V8) by 0.775sec, while third placed and local driver Brian Hamilton was 57sec behind (Ford Capri).

A superb drive by Luke Manson (Porsche) up ended the pole position result of Marco Giltrap (Porsche) in the hour-long Golden Homes GT New Zealand race. Try as he might Giltrap ran out of laps to reel Manson in, following the pit-stop including feature.

The opening eight-lap race in the Toyota 86 Championship saw Brock Gilchrist return to his winning ways after qualifying in fifth. Climbing the field in the opening lap to be on pole sitter Clay Osborne by the end of the first lap it was all over on the second, when he slotted to the front.

“It hadn’t gone too well in qualifying,” said Gilchrist afterward. “But we knew we had plenty of speed and I just wanted to get to the front quickly.

“It’s great to win but it’s still too early to talk about a championship. We’ve just got to focus on the here and now, not make any mistakes and make sure we keep our qualifying and race pace.”

Interleaved into the day’s schedule was the Valvoline D1NZ field. Rounding out the day’s action with the first round of elimination battles. The superb weather drew the crowd to see the entire field run through in pairs – ahead of tomorrow’s next series of elimination rounds.

With the weather expected to hold, Sunday’s programme holds two races for each of the classes while D1NZ will resume battles, rounding out the weekend with the top-eight down to podium run-off’s from 5pm.

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