An unusually warm Teretonga Park greeted the Speed Works Events BP Motorsport NZ Championship classes on Friday.
After early forecasts predicted a wet weekend, the first day was warm with hardly a cloud in sight. Here are some noteworthy remarks from Friday’s running.
»»» The day got off to a bad start for Liam Lawson, who arrived late to the drivers’ briefing by five minutes. Lawson was handed a $300 fine by MotorSport New Zealand for his tardiness and duly apologised to the category officials.
»»» M2 Competition took the blame for misinforming Lawson on when he needed to be at the briefing and as a result offered to pay the fine.
»»» Lawson’s teammate Yuki Tsunoda was lucky not to cop a fine either, only narrowly making it through the door on time.
»»» There were some early morning dramas in the Formula Ford paddock. An amendment to the New Zealand Formula Ford Championship articles effectively banned their competitors from running in the South Island Formula 1600 Series.
»»» An amendment to the articles was made and received by the New Zealand Formula Ford Championship competitors after Practice 1. However, the amendment was later reversed.
»»» The Valvoline D1NZ National Drifting Championship competes at Teretonga Park for the first time in the 15-plus years the series has run. The furthest south the championship has gone is Dunedin at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
»»» Several drivers noted the added rubber around the circuit made driving difficult on the 2.57 km long facility. The circuit is being cleaned after each session to remove excess rubber from Turn 2 to Turn 6 where the drift section is designated.
»»» Oliver Rasmussen and Lucas Petterson both failed to partake in Practice 1 with separate issues preventing them from getting on track.
»»» Friday was punctuated by several off-road excursions. Henning Enqvist had an off at Highlands Motorsport Park and had a similar incident on Friday. He went wide through Turn 2 and speared into the tyre barrier on approach to Turn 3. Damage to the car was minimal with suspension and a broken front wing.
»»» Axel Gnos was in the wars too. He went off the road at Turn 1 and then had another prang at Turn 2, which caused more damage to the car. He was able to partake in the third practice.
»»» After copping a fine in the morning, Liam Lawson ended his day in the tyre barrier at Turn 2 in an incident almost identical to that of Enqvist’s. Lawson managed to walk away from the incident, his FT-60 sustaining only minimal damage following a nudge with the tyre barrier.
»»» Ido Cohen was another who suffered on Friday with a handful of incidents curtailing his three practice sessions.
»»» Having had a torrid weekend at Highlands Motorsport Park, Caio Collet of the Renault Sport Academy lay down a 54.804 in an interrupted Practice 1. He managed just seven laps to be atop the timesheets. Yuki Tsunoda, Petr Ptacek, Igor Fraga and Franco Colapinto completed the top five.
»»» Practice 2 saw the times improve marginally. The field pushed the limits throughout with a handful of off-road excursions, particularly exiting the sweeping Turn 1.
»»» Colapinto was quickest, a tenth faster than the morning’s time on a 54.763 late in the session. Fraga came within a few tenths, 0.186s away from the top spot. Tsunoda, Lawson and Collet completed the top five.
»»» Gran Turismo guru Igor Fraga managed to top the third and final practice session. By the end of Practice 3, he lay 0.184s ahead of Collet. Gregoire Saucy finally cracked the top five having threatened to all day. Behind him were Tsunoda and Colapinto in fourth and fifth respectively.
»»» Chelsea Herbert improved throughout the day setting a 60.403 in Practice 1, a 56.344 in Practice 2 and a 56.209 in Practice 3. With the quickest times coming in the final session of the day, Herbert lay 0.6s away from Enqvist in second-to-last. Fellow Kiwi Lawson was ninth, fourth and 15th fastest across the three practice sessions.
»»» Connor Adam was quickest in the Toyota 86 Championship field on Day 1. The International Motorsport-run driver set the pace in Practice 1 and Practice 2. A 1:09.453 put him in good stead for Saturday morning’s first practice session.
»»» International Motorsport were certainly on the pace. Brock Gilchrist was quick in Practice 2, as was M2 Competition driver Campbell Stewart who was second overall in Practice 1.
»»» The fastest times came in Practice 1 with Connor Adam, Brock Gilchrist, Jaden Ransley, Ryan Wood and Jaylyn Robotham the top five runners. Round 2 winner Peter Vodanovich hovered around the top five.
»»» Callum Hedge was once again the class of the field in the South Island Porsche Series. He set the quickest time of 59.428 to be three tenths clear of Hayden Knighton.