Sunday, Mar 11 04:14pm
AUTHOR: Matthew Hansen

Heimgartner wins BNT V8s title in style, as Smith claims race victory

After a few unsuccessful past attempts, André Heimgartner has claimed his maiden BNT V8s championship title; having finished fourth in the final race of the season — one spot behind his major championship threat Jason Bargwanna. 

 

Race victory went to Jack Smith; the Australian driver's first race win since joining the series. Nick Ross finished second, with Bargwanna, Heimgartner, and Brad Lathrope rounding out the top five. 

 

In Class Two, Liam MacDonald took the title after finishing second in class, with his main rival Chelsea Herbert going off track late in the race while sitting third. 

 

The race began with a reveresed grid class order — Class Two setting off first. Brock Timperley won the start from MacDonald and a fast-starting Herbert. 

 

Then began Class One and the invitational Classs Three runners; themselves also starting in a reversed format. Lance Hughes made a gun start from the front row, Nick Ross and Jack Smith followed him, then followed by the critical championship duo of Bargwanna and Heimgartner. 

 

It was a clean start, save for offs for Brad Lathrope and Matt Tubbs, and mechanical issues for both Rob Wallace and John DeVeth. Wallace's car in particular was not parked out of harm's way, and a safety car was subsequently called. 

 

Along with compressing the field, the restart was set to put the quick Class One cars right behind the slower Class Two cars. Come time for the restart, six Class Two cars and Class Three driver Nigel Karl were ahead of lead Class One car Hughes. 

 

The race restarted on lap six; Herbert losing third to Timperley, and Jack Smith rocketing by Ross and Hughes in the melee. it was a rough restart among the Class One cars; Heimgartner among a bunch to run four wide through the carousel — losing out and running wide as a consequence. 

 

By lap eight, Smith, Ross, Hughes, Bargwanna, and Heimgartner had navigated the Class Two runners to set about their own fight. Smith had a two-second gap, but a safety car for the standed Falcon of Jono Lester soon eliminated that. 

 

The race again restarted on lap 11; three left to go. Smith and Ross looked comfortable at the front, with the main battle being for third between Hughes, Bargwanna, and Heimgartner. 

 

And that's ultimately how the order finished; Smith claiming his maiden BNT V8s race win by 1.7 seconds from Ross and Bargwanna. Heimgartner was fourth, and Lathrope was an impressive fifth. 

 

Class Two meanwhile saw Timperley win over MacDonald, and Matthew Podjursky. After running in third earlier, Herbert ran wide at turn two down the escape road at turn two. 

 

The series now goes on break until next season. Keep tuned to velocitynews.co.nz for season updates as they unfold.

 

Full championship results to come.

 

Photo: David Whitham / Great South Photography

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