Tom Alexander and Anthony Leighs had a dream debut for their Nissan GT-R, claiming pole position for this afternoon’s three-hour race at Levels Raceway.
Alexander muscled the GT-R to a 58.657s on fresh rubber, pipping the McLaren 650s GT3 of Glenn Smith and Damon Leitch by 0.173s.
Today is only the third time Alexander has driven the team’s new weapon and the first in a competitive setting. He even reckons he could have gone a tad faster.
“I think so,” Alexander told Velocity News when asked if he has any extra pace left in him.
“Tyres were still coming in. We had to back off a few times to try and find a gap. I don’t think they were at the optimum.
“So, I think there is still more in the car. There also still a lot of development to do with the car. It is early days and there is definitely more potential in it.”
Qualifying is one thing, but it is the race that counts, and Alexander is wary of what is behind him.
“It’d be close,” he said. “You know what Damon [Leitch] is like, and Glenn [Smith] is pretty fast in that McLaren too.
“It won’t be an easy one, but we are looking forward to the challenge and hopefully we can take the fight to them.”
Leighs will start the race in the GT-R this afternoon, though what strategy the front-runners will do remains up in the air.
“We are contemplating the fuel numbers to see what we can do,” Alexander said. “We might need a little bit of safety car to try and do a one-stop.
“We will go out there and drive a little bit to a number and try and save some fuel.”
Scott O’Donnell and Allan Dippie qualified third in the Porsche GT3R, three-tenths ahead of Sam Collins and Nick Ross (MARC II V8).
The three-hour race begins at 1.30 pm.
Ryan Wood wanted to lap under the sixty-second bracket this morning. The 17-year-old broke the one-hour lap record yesterday in testing and was the favourite for pole today in the Class C and D one-hour race.
He did that, claiming his second pole of the season. Though he narrowly missed out on dipping under a minute.
Wood’s best lap was a 1.00.236. He’ll start alongside Timaru locals Chris and Johnny Small.
Jarrod Owens and Marco Schelp make up row two. The pair were 0.9s and 1s adrift of Wood.
A broken front left axle couldn’t prevent Rhys Gould from grabbing pole in the Class A and B one-hour affair.
Gould lapped his Hyundai i30 TCR to a 1.04.039, a mere 0.017s quicker than Andre Simon.
However, Gould starts the race from the pitlane as the team couldn’t repair the issue to leave the pitlane in time.
It leaves Simon on the front row, ahead of TCR duo Scott O’Donnell and Dennis Chapman.
The Class A and B one-hour has just started and is followed by the Class C and D race at 11.40 am.
Main Image: Mark Petch