Evans holds off strong Heimgartner challenge in V8s
Evans beats Heimgartner in tight opening V8 race in Manfeild
Smeg Racing's Simon Evans has fended off a strong challenge from V8 Supercar ace André Heimgartner in the dying laps to end day one of the sixth round of the 2015–’16 BNT NZ Touring Car championship on top.
“I have a couple of hairy moments out there, and a couple while I was pushing. It was nice to get a win for the guys,” said Evans.
The reigning NZ SuperTourer series winner initially built a margin over Heimgartner in the early laps, but lost it as the race went on, with the Bartercard Commodore latching onto his rear over the closing laps.
“I just caught lapped traffic at the wrong places, and that held me up a bit. We approach them [the traffic] quite quick, and they sometimes get a bit surprised. [...] I tried to build a lead early, so if that car went off that André wouldn't be right on me. He was there anyway, but we managed to hold him off.”
“I felt like I had [Heimgartner] under control. It's really hot out there and really slippery, so you've got to concentrate on hitting your markers at that stage.”
Evans eventually won the race by less than half a second.
Behind him, Chesters Commodore driver Tim Edgell finished in a lonely third place, after a quiet race.
Sam Barry won the class two battle. Photo / Matthew Hansen
The rest of the class one placings seemed to be a lottery for much of the race, with the balance divided into two battles. Mitch Cunningham and Jason Bargwanna fought for fourth, while Angus Fogg, Tom Alexander, and Nick Ross raced for sixth.
After a race-long dice and numerous ducks and dives, Cunningham eventually snatched fourth off Bargwanna at the final corner near the end of the race.
Fogg looked to have the measure of Alexander and Ross, but lost the advantage after making a mistake through the infield. Alexander eventually took sixth, with Ross then Fogg completing the class one order.
In class two, Sam Barry, Brock Cooley, and Simon Fleming had a simple run to the flag to finish first, second, and third — after Brad Lathrope's MWN Civil entry failed on the start line.
Races two and three of the NZ Touring Car championship take place tomorrow at 10.56am and 3.21pm respectively.