Saturday, Jan 12 07:12am
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Team completes overnight rebuild after Highlands bites Hughes

Friday’s practice running at round two of the Speed Works Events calendar caught many out on the Highlands Motorsport Park circuit.


Toyota 86 Championship rookie Mitch Hughes was one of those to find the wall through the ‘Southern Loop’ after a lose through the bus stop chicane.


Speaking with last night at Cromwell Collision Repairs, Hughes said he and the team would be doing their best to fix the car in time for qualifying.


“I just came into the bus stop at turn one and lost control in the second one and backed it into the wall,” Hughes said.


“I think there was a bit of dust and dirt on the track, but I think it was just a minor mistake by me. I’ve got the boys here working hard and hopefully get it done for tomorrow morning’s qualifying and race one.


“The whole right rear quarter has to be fixed. Obviously, the front too. We’re getting that done and then we’ll get onto the rear end.”


Back 3/4


Hughes came away from the crash a bit sore after what he said was “a bloody big hit” into the concrete wall.


With the start of their weekend curtailed, Hughes just wants to get through the weekend without incident.


“We’ll get the car ready next week for Teretonga then we’ll head back to Hamilton and take it to our panel beater and get it all fixed properly for Hampton Downs.


“We just need to get the car straight really and good to go I guess. We’ll do a set up in the morning and go from there.”




Mitch is the son of BNT V8s driver Lance Hughes. The Hamilton Asphalts team had incidents elsewhere with Jack Smith suffering damage to the right-hand side of his car.


In what is his first season of the Toyota 86 Championship, Hughes has exceeded his own expectations.


“I’m felling pretty good, real good actually,” Hughes said of his performance.


“It’s a good car these little Toyota 86s. It’s really tight. At Pukekohe Park the top 12 cars were covered by a second. There’s a bit of rubbing, which is good. There’s a lot of learning race craft too.


“I haven’t done any racing. I used to race motocross, so I pretty much came straight into the car fresh as. I was a bit nervous as the Aussie V8s (ITM Auckland SuperSprint) with all the crowd there – had the shakes, but it’s all good.


“My goal for the end of the season was top 10, but I was sitting there in the first two rounds. Obviously, I’m just making minor mistakes from learning. Hopefully we’ll be around the top five next season, but this year is just a learning curve for me.”


Front 3.4


The third round of the Toyota 86 Championship gets underway at Highlands Motorsport Park with qualifying and race one on Saturday. Sunday will see two races.