Simon Baker of Wellington left Mike Pero Motorsport Park at Ruapuna in Christchurch with the points lead after the first round of the New Zealand Championship for the Nexen Tyre Mazda Racing Series this weekend.
There were three different winners across the three races but it was Baker who emerged at the top of the points at the end of the weekend.
Racing was hard fought and after an incident free day on Saturday, Sunday proved to be far more eventful.
Leo Bult of Auckland had drawn first blood in the opening race on Saturday, blitzing the lap record previously held by Ben Stewart on his way to victory. Bult left the new mark at 1 minute 37.282 seconds.
Shane Paget of Rangiora had qualified on pole taking the Premier Insulation $500 Pole Award but missed a gear from the start and ended the race third behind Bult and Baker.
Baker won Sunday morning’s top ten reverse grid race from Dalan Price of Rangiora with Cantabrian’s Matt Dodd and Paget third and fourth respectively. The previous day’s winner, Bult, had a coming together with his own team mate, Steve Brown, and was eliminated with severe damage to the left-hand wheel. There were more incidents during the race and a safety car period with seven cars in total receiving penalties for breaching safety car procedures.
After a red flag on lap one of the finale when Paget went into the tyres at the hairpin, Baker led all the way from the restart, only to receive a ten second penalty for a Parc Ferme breach, dropping him to eighth place in the provisional results. That elevated Chris White Jnr of Prebbleton to the win from Flynn Mullany of Auckland with another Aucklander, Warren Crowther, third. Bult was a non-starter, deciding not to run due to hurried repairs after the earlier incident.
The series continues at Timaru International Motor Raceway next weekend, an event which is also Round 3 of the South Island Championship for the class.
Points: (Top 6)
Simon Baker (Wellington) 115
Chris White Jnr (Prebbleton) 104
Flynn Mullany (Auckland) 97
Dalan Price (Rangiora) 94
Warren Crowther (Auckland) 91
Elton Wichman (Auckland)/Matt Dodd (Christchurch) 86
On behalf of the Nexen Tyre NZ Mazda Racing Series
021 351 499
For further information – Lindsay Dodd – 0274 383 997
Photograph: Round winner, Simon Baker of Wellington, greets the chequered flag as he wins the reverse top ten grid race of the opening national championship round of the Nexen Tyre NZ Mazda Racing Series at Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna in Christchurch – please credit Mad Angles Photography.