John De Veth and Glenn Smith have surged home to a second successive one-hour victory, this time at Pukekohe Park, clinching the championship in the progress.
De Veth ambled home in front of Tim Edgell as a late safety car had the race finish under caution. Bruce Anderson clattered the outside wall at Turn Four, tearing the front-right wheel off and was unable to get home under his own steam.
“The car was beautiful to drive,” said De Veth. “I was able to drive it smooth and this is the results you get from it.”
“John drove amazingly, I only had to do a little bit of work at the start,” added Smith.
“Then we got that first safety car so I hopped out, put John in it and let me win.”
Just like the season-opener at Hampton Downs, the SBT Motorsport outfit were again dominant through all facets of the race and only relinquished the lead in the pitstop phase.
Nonetheless, second-placed Edgell, who finished as the only other driver on the lead lap, said he was incredibly pleased with the result considering the competition.
“We did exceptionally well, especially against all the GT3 cars which doesn’t really make it a fair race,” he said.
“But the car ran faultless so really happy with that and to be two laps up on third place is really great achievement.”
Edgell said the late safety car opened the opportunity to have late assault at De Veth. but ultimately nothing did eventuate.
“We were just kind of consolidating second, hoping for a late safety car where I could have had a go for the lead. But just wasn’t to be.”
Smith was given control of the start of the race and led from the get-go, holding a slender lead over Edgell whose V8 power kept himself in touch with the McLaren along the full Pukekohe back-straight.
The race was then neutralised at the ten-minute mark when Geoff Short spun at Turn 2 which resulted in the first safety car period.
With the pit window open just as the caution came out, almost the entire field opted to make their compulsory pitstop with the race effectively levelling out the race.
Edgell then became the effective race leader after the pitstops played themselves out with John Midgely in tow.
De Veth was put in for the 50-minute run to the flag but had cycled back to third in the progress.
However, the rapid McLaren quickly caught onto the tail of the leaders, making his move in the hairpin as a profusion of slower traffic hindered Edgell. De Veth then very nearly conceded the lead when he was tagged by the V8 Ute of Phill Ross, pitching the new race leader towards the inside barrier.
De Veth then remained unchallenged, surging out to a ten-second lead as the clock ticked over three-quarter distance.
Anderson’s incident with ten-minutes remaining yielded another safety car, but the NZV8 driver parked himself on an awkward angle that made recovering his stricken car difficult for the marshalls.
Ultimately, the field then cruised home under yellow flag conditions in a anti-climatic finish to the championship season.
Matt Whittaker was fourth, fronting a Porsche 4-5-6 finish with Conal Dempsey and podium finisher at Hampton Downs, Callum Hedge, behind.
Jono Lester was the lead CRE Howe GT Mustang home in seventh while teammate Matt Gibson was an early causality after being forced to start from the back of the field.
Nick Ross, Bob Seivwright and hometown hero Dean Perkins rounded out the top-ten.