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NZGP Meeting - NIFF Round 5, NZ Championship Round 1

 

NIFF Championship: 2nd

NZ Championship: 6th

 

It was an incredible experience to be able to race at the NZGP event in Hampton Downs on the weekend!

 

During this event, I had my first live TV interview and even went wheel to wheel with 4 time Bathurst 1000 winner, Greg Murphy! 

 

In practice, we could only manage to get the 9th quickest time... This had put us on the back foot going into qualifying, but with the help of some handy data and footage analysis from Callum Crawley, we managed to find where there was still time to be gained. 

 

During qualifying, I processed our findings and put it all together for a lap time of 1:44.337 to put the car on the front row, alongside Dylan Grant.

 

Lights out for Race 1 and I had a great launch, attempting to run around the outside of Dylan into Turn 1, I couldn’t make it stick but on the long run down to turn 2 I got a great tow and challenged around the outside into Turn 2. It didn’t end there and I kept challenging through the infield but came off second best. 

The car started playing up on the way into the sweeper on the main straight the next lap and I got overtaken, dropping me down to 4th.

A couple of laps later, I was running 3rd when my dash turned off, “this can’t be good” I thought to myself… Just one corner later, the engine was misfiring, and I got overtaken by Greg and then Blake, near the end of the straight leading into turn 2 the engine was almost completely gone and I was forced to pull over onto the side of the track to get recovered.

I’ll give a massive shoutout to the recovery crew on track for being super fast!

 

Race 2 came around on Sunday and we were starting on P3, I had a good launch again and challenged for P2 at Turn 1 and then 2, I got very racey with the front 2 in the earlier stages of the race, but I didn’t quite have the pace to really get amongst it, I ended up having a front row seat to a great battle for the whole race and managed to bring the car home in P3.

 

I was starting on P4 for the final race of the weekend, this race was for the Morrie Smith memorial trophy. (Kenny Smith’s father) This race I had a great 4 car battle going through the infield in the early stages of the race, but couldn’t quite keep up for the whole race, dropping back around a second and just having a front-row seat to a long and hard-fought battle. Drama unfolded on the final lap as 2 cars made contact and dropped very far back in the field, allowing me to sit second over the lap, it didn’t stop there, the winner's car got teched out as the ride height was too low, handing me my first win of the season!

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