Alongside the Toyota Racing Series, there was plenty of action up-and-down the support paddock over the weekend at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon.
From the sheer grunt of the GTRNZ and Central Muscle Car monsters, to the next crop of future stars in Formula First, Manfeild had a bit of everything over the weekend.
Here is a quick look over what went down.
Central Muscle Cars
Angus Fogg claimed two of the four wins over the weekend, gaining the upper hand in race one after a fierce duel with Andy Knight before storming to a comprehensive victory in Sunday’s finale.
Dean Hansen’s championship challenge had a significant leg-up in race one. The HQ Monaro clung on to finish third after a battle with Michael Wallace ended with the latter spinning at turn one.
That allowed Craig Boote to sneak into fourth, holding off V8 Ute regulars Andrew Porter and Matt Spratt in an intensely fought tussle.
Clark Hopkins would win an enthralling race two – the weekend’s first reverse grid handicap race.
Scything through the Class 2 cars with relative ease, Hopkins would slide past Andrew Sinclair at the final corner on the last lap to snatch victory.
The final margin between Hopkins and Sinclair was a measly 0.292s, while Andy Knight charged from the rear of the grid to third. Other big-tier names Fogg and Boote were fifth and seventh.
A rare safety car muddled up race three’s running order, which was another reverse grid handicap. Rick van Swet slipped off the road in the No.67 Camaro, and the field was neutralised under yellow for the first time.
With the number of laps in hand to get past the slower cars now reduced, the likes of Hopkins, Knight and Fogg were unable to make as much in-roads as they could in race two.
Instead, Gary McKelvie clung on for the win in his 1969 HT Monaro, finishing six-tenths ahead of rookie Rodney Heads.
Race four was a two-horse race between Fogg and Knight. But when Knight made an error and dropped off the circuit and into the gravel trap, Fogg was left to canter his Mustang home nine-seconds clear of the field.
The weekend also celebrated Tony Boydon who started his 100th Central Muscle Car event.
Hi-Q Components NZ Formula First
Liam Foster and Zach Blincoe shared the wins across round six of the New Zealand Formula First Championship.
A typical Formula First barnburner kicked off the meeting on Saturday, with six cars dicing it for the lead all race.
Ultimately, Foster was able to sneak his nose over the line first, 0.064s ahead of Blincoe. Chris Symon had a welcome return to form, trailing Blincoe home by 0.8s to claim third.
Leo Scott, Louis Sharp and Hayden Bakkerus kept the front-runners honest with Manfeild’s long sweeping corners and a trio of straights allowing them to stick with the leaders.
Blincoe would finally tick off his first championship race win on Sunday morning, before backing it up with a second hours later.
The race was put under safety car when three cars speared off the road on individual laps, with Scott’s race coming unglued in a bizarre incident which had his left-front wheel part way.
A last-lap dash was set-up for the restart. Blincoe fronted the field and capitalised on the battling behind him to head Brody McConkey for the win. It was nearly a perfect last-to-first drive for McConkey who missed qualifying and lined up at the rear of the grid.
Blincoe scored his second win of the season in a race overshadowed by a scary last-lap crash. Bakkerus launched over Foster’s rear wheel at turn four and careened into the side of McConkey at high speed.
Before the incident, all three were involved in a scrap for the lead.
Symon and Blincoe traded the number one spot on several occasions, with Scott and Sharp also having turns up the front.
John De Veth picked up two wins to extend his lead in the GT1 standings, with the Hampton Downs-based driver coming on the brink of breaking the 60s barrier at the end of the weekend.
Sauntering to pole position in qualifying, De Veth walked away with a 19s thrashing in race one, leaving Matt Whittaker and Kerry Jones in his wake.
The Daytona Crawford lapped everyone up to eighth-place Cameron Jones, who arrived at his home round in his home-built Mazda RX-7.
Race two was made more difficult for De Veth, with the handicap system making him start from the pitlane.
However, a mid-race caution was deployed when Brian Gray punted Marvyn Towers into the gravel. The field bunched up, and De Veth was able to latch out on the back of the pack.
Overtaking upwards of five cars at a time, De Veth quickly caught the scrimmage for the lead, involving Kerry Jones, Brayden Phillips and Brock Cooley with two laps in hand.
Jones forced the hard-charging prototype to take a narrow line on the run into the final corner, but De Veth slyly kept his foot in and slipped into the lead.
Cooley resisted Phillips’ onslaught in the Corlis Race Engineering Mustang, leading his GT2 rival home to round off the rostrum.
Sunday afternoon’s race saw a revamp to the handicap. This time, without the help of a safety car, De Veth could only manage 11th.
Yet he did manage to lap the Manfeild circuit in an impressive 1.00.297s.
Struan Robertson got ahead of Nigel Karl on the penultimate lap to snare victory – a positive result after a spin in race two.
The ever-consistent Cooley was second with Kerry Jones third.
Winners in GT3/4 were Jamie Potts, Sean Browne and Jon Telford – who inherited the overall win after a post-race penalty for Jordyn Wallace.
Mazda Racing Series
Only one Mazda Racing Series race went the full distance this weekend. Race one was red-flagged at the start of lap two when Keith Wilkinson experienced a large crash when his ABS failed heading into turn one.
Race three was also suspended, this time when Paul Leith rolled to a stop, flames licking up the rear and side of the car.
In uncanny fashion, Matt Carkeek crashed heavily into the tyre barrier at turn six simultaneously as Leith caught fire.
That race would be awarded to James Parker, with six of the eight laps having been completed.
Parker would also win the day’s earlier race, pipping Simon Baker across the line in a thrilling finish.
Wilkinson shoved aside his race one crash and was immediately on form, claiming third. A mere 0.443s separated the top three.
Once again the Mazda Racing Series delivered in car count, maxing out with a respectable 28 cars for all three races.
Andrew Whittaker was pushed hard by Connor Adam all weekend in round three of the Pirelli Porsche championship. But the more the powerful 911 GT2 RS was able to keep the youngster at bay and collect a hat-trick of race wins.
Adam was steering the International Motorsport-prepared 997. His performances over the weekend, including pole position in qualifying, were of high praise.
Still, he was unable to match the outright power of Whittaker. It nearly saw a reversal of fortune in race two, with Whittaker only cementing the win on the final lap.
Robert Dong entered the round atop of the championship standings. He walked away with a third, fourth and fifth to keep his title hopes alive.
Brent Greer hadn’t been in a competitive race for several years, and his return was short-lived when he peeled off the road at turn one in the opening race.
However, he soon found his stride and on Sunday finished behind Whittaker and Adam in both races.
The weekend marked the championship’s halfway stage, with Pukekohe to play host to round four next month.