Marco Schelp has survived a late safety car to win the second round of the one-hour Carters Tyres South Island Endurance Series from Ruapuna.
It is Schelp’s first race in New Zealand this year after coming back from his native Germany, and his first race in over eight months.
“Awesome result after a year of not racing,” Schelp said. Eight months in Germany, it was hard with only karting and no car racing – too expensive.
“But here it is so laid back, I just love it.”
Schelp also affirmed his entry for the final round of the South Island Championship in Timaru, as well as earmarking plans to contest the national grand finale at Highlands Motorsport Park.
“Oh yes I will come to Timaru for sure, and Highlands as well.”
The Williams duo RX8 came to a stop with under ten minutes remaining which bunched the field up for a dash to the chequered flag.
The driver at the helm of the group was Schelp who led the majority of the 60-minute affair. The only time the No.9 Porsche was not in front was on the opening tour where a fast-starting Russell McKenzie got the jump from the outside of the front row and controlled the pack.
Winners from Round One, the Collins Motorsport entry had suffered a mechanical glitch during qualifying meaning they started from the pitlane. A rapid start by Nick Ross ultimately ended in retirement as the No.777 Mustang called its day early when the same driveline issue reoccurred just four laps into the race. The incident brought out the race’s first full-course yellow.
At quarter distance it was Schelp who maintained a 13-second buffer over McKenzie who was engaged in a heated tussle with Martin Dippie.
Action in the pitlane then exploded when the safety car was deployed for the second time just before the halfway point.
Will Taylor had rolled to a halt with flames leaving a unique signature on the floor of the Honda Integra. The fire was quickly extinguished but as was the race of Taylor who became the latest retirement.
The caution played right into the hands of Garry and Ben Derrick who had leapfrogged himself behind Schelp for the restart.
The expat German driver then maintained a healthy margin over the challenging pack, securing his first win of the 2020 season.
Bruce Davidson claimed class victory in Class C and tenth overall in his Chevrolet Corvette.
Jordan Michels stormed to his second successive Class B win in the Team Williams Honda TCR. A clean race by the Invercargill driver had him steer to an unrivalled win. Husband and wife combo Dennis Chapman and Debbie Chapman rounded out the Class podium in the two Track Tec TCRs.
Once again, Michels proved to have the pace to contend with front runners, finishing seventh overall and the last driver on the lead lap.
A healthy 13-strong Class A group was won by the Gibson/Booth Honda Civic who finished 9-seconds clear of the Kitching/Bartlett Civic.
One-Hour Top 10 overall:
- Marco Schelp
- B Derrick / G Derrick
- Martin Dippie
- S O’Donnell / A Dippie
- Russell McKenzie
- Danny Whiting
- Jordan Michels
- McAlpine / K Yu
- Chris Nicholas
- Bruce Davidson