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WHITE OPENS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP ACCOUNT WITH A WIN

Chris White of Prebbleton in Canterbury opened his tilt at the Nexen Tyre NZ Mazda Racing Series National Championship with a win in an action-packed race at Euromarque Motorsport Park at Ruapuna in Christchurch on Saturday.


White had qualified on pole with a blistering time of 1 minute 36.529 seconds, the only driver to get into the 1.36 bracket, but it was ex-pat South African Stiaan Kriel on his first ever visit to the circuit who burst through from the second row of the grid to lead early with White in hot pursuit. Christchurch driver Matt Dodd was third initially after starting on the front row with Sam Dashfield of Auckland in his first start of the season in fourth.


Kriel and White had a frantic battle over the opening laps but on lap four White made a good pass to take the lead and quickly pulled away, extending his lead over the remainder of the ten-lap contest to 10.144 seconds over Kriel at the chequered flag.

Dashfield got past Dodd when the Cantabrian missed a gear and went on to take third with Dodd fourth. Aucklanders James Parker and Karl Gaines were fifth and sixth respectively ahead of series newcomer, Ben McConochie of Christchurch.  Will Kitching of Timaru put in a great recovery drive after problems in qualifying had left him twenty-sixth on the grid to come home eighth ahead of Stuart Lawton of Wellington and Warren Crowther of Auckland.


White was “pretty happy” with the win while Kriel said he was “still figuring out the circuit.”


Reigning National Champion, Simon Baker of Wellington, had set the second fastest time in qualifying only to be relegated to the rear of the grid for a technical infringement in the session. He stormed from the back of the field to eleventh at the flag. Dalan Price of Swannanoa was another who struck trouble in qualifying and had to start from well back eventually finishing eighteenth. Matt Horne of Masterton pulled into the pits after the warm up lap while rookies, Arthur Broughan of Tuamarina near Blenheim and Mac Templeton of Prebbleton, both qualified exceptionally strongly in fifth and sixth respectively in just their second outings in the series only to strike trouble early in the race.


Long time supporter of the series, Ken Thompson of Dunedin took the Historic Class honours in today’s race in his Series 1 RX7.

 

Thirty-one cars started the race and provided an exciting contest with plenty of drama throughout the race.


The event was also Round 3 of the South Island Championship and White consolidated his lead in that championship with today’s win.


Tomorrow morning the competitors will line up for a 12-lap race at 9.36am 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.

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