Will Kitching scored his maiden win in the Nexen Tyre NZ Mazda Racing Series South Island Championship during the Thunder Down Under action at Levels Raceway in Timaru on Saturday.
In just his second weekend in the series, the young hometown driver took the lead after pole-sitter and early leader Chris White Junior made a rare error and ran wide at the end of the back straight. Kitching pounced and went on to take his first win in the series which he has only joined this season.
White Jnr charged back, and while he made up considerable ground, Kitching crossed the line 0.977 of a second ahead.
Kitching conceded later he was “fortunate” that White Jnr’s mistake “allowed me to sneak through.” “I had nothing left in my tyres towards the end as he came back at me, and I did the best I could with the car in the heat!” he said.
It transpired later that White Jnr had a brake issue, but he still set the fastest lap of the race while Dalan Price held third place throughout to finish behind the lead duo.
Brent ‘Bones’ Collins finished fourth in his ‘Batman’ RX7 with the impressive Mac Templeton of Prebbleton, on debut in the series, taking fifth ahead of Aucklander Ant Tork and another impressive debutant Arthur Broughan.
Hamish Collins, the brother of Brent Collins, was the first Series 1 RX7 home in eleventh place.
Matt Dodd lost several laps after contact sent him off the circuit and caused a puncture.
Earlier in the day, White Junior had set the pace in qualifying with a time of 1 minute 10.681 seconds ahead of Kitching and Price. Templeton had set an eye-catching fourth fastest time but was demoted three grid positions for causing a red flag when his car stopped out on the track early in the session.
Competitors take on a 12-lap race with a reverse top ten grid from today’s finishing order on Sunday morning, with the third and final race, a 10-lapper, with the grid set on points scored later in the afternoon.
Those who cannot be at Timaru for the round can follow the action by live streaming of all the action on both days on the Mazda Racing Series Facebook page.
Header Image: Timaru driver Will Kitching during his impressive Nexen Tyre NZ Mazda Racing Series South Island Championship debut at Levels Raceway in Timaru in November. Image: Neil Howie – Enuff Photography