An audacious, fearless move from Jonny Reid gave him, Neil Foster and the International Motorsport team victory in round two of the North Island Endurance Series at Hampton Downs.
When the Don McIntyre/Rob Williams Porsche 997 GT3 crashed at pit exit midway through the race, Alex Riberas and Darren Kelly saw their massive lead vanish.
The Heart of Racing Aston Martin took hold of the lead at the start and had blasted to a mammoth advantage over the first hour.
With the rain that was forecasted for today’s race holding off, Riberas and Kelly looked set for an emphatic win.
However, the Aston Martin developed a bizarre brake drama that affected the rear axle and would cause the gearbox to get stuck in neutral at random times.
Still, Riberas controlled the field at the safety car restart only to have Reid in the No.22 Audi R8 hunt him down.
Reid initially looked to have snuck up the inside of Riberas at turn eight. But the Spaniard fought back and bullied himself back into the lead at the next corner.
Reid bided his time, regathered his thoughts and launched a second attack.
This time, Reid’s move came at the final sweeper.
Getting alongside Riberas, Reid went around the outside of the Aston to snatch the race lead, and ultimately the win.
“We worked really hard today, all weekend,” an exhausted Reid said after the race.
“Neil did an outstanding performance as well.”
Despite the overtake, Reid and Foster were still at risk of losing the lead as the race entered the final 30 minutes.
The International Motorsport team decided not to change tyres at the final stop, shaving precious seconds off their stop time.
They were able to maintain a healthy advantage once the Aston made its last visit to the lane.
“We had a discussion on it and decided it was the right call,” Foster said about the team’s strategy.
“We were going to be slower on a tyre change than our opposition and it worked out.”
Surprisingly, today is Reid and Foster’s first win in an endurance race since Timaru in the South Island Series last year.
The next round of the North Island championship sees the field head to Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park in Taupo, a circuit Reid is excited to head to.
“We look forward to the challenge,” he said.
“It is never easy, and different circuits bring out different attributes between all the cars.
“I think it is going to be a great race down there as well.”
Despite coming out second best in the duel for the win, Riberas was still satisfied with his and Kelly’s performance over the race.
“Big congratulations to Jonny and Neil,” he said. “They did a phenomenal job and deserved the win.
“The best is yet to come.”
Riberas finished a lap down on the race winners after a drive-through penalty in the last five minutes for a pitstop infringement.
Third place went to Glenn Smith and John De Veth (McLaren 650s) after Smith got past the Audi R8 of Andrew Fawcett and Sam Filmore in the final ten minutes.
Matt Dovey and Jono Lester came home fifth but showed tremendous promise in the V8-powered Audi A5.
Lester shot from fifth to third on lap one and looked comfortable battling with the GT3 machinery around him.
Notable retirees were Lance Hughes and Chris van der Drift after the Nissan GT-R developed brake issues in the first hour.
Main Image: Matt Smith
|3||Smith/De Veth||2 Laps|
|8||Hughes/van der Drift||DNF|