Monday Motorsport wrap: Evans and van Gisbergen star
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Kiwis come close in Australian GT, Evans kick starts 2016 GP2 campaign, MSNZ crown winners
While I'm sure most motorsportists reading this will — like me — be glued to the television for this morning's Indy 500 to follow Scott Dixon's campaign, it's easy to forget that there were plenty of other Kiwis racing in other classes all over the world. So here it all is, all in one place for your convenience.
Strong NZ contingent do everything but win at Phillip Island AGT meeting ...
Graeme Smyth takes on former V8 Supercar ace Marcus Marshall. Photo / Australian GT
Shane van Gisbergen, Craig Baird, Dominic Storey, Daniel Gaunt, and Graeme Smyth all featured at the Australian GT's (AGT) annual visit to Phillip Island — an event that doubled as round four of the AGT sprint series as well as round one of the endurance series.
van Gisbergen and Storey both got to climb the podium, a first for Storey and the Autex AMG GT3 he shared with Peter Hackett. In the case of the Phillip Island 101 enduro, the full list of Kiwis finished second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth — each of them having looked at one point or another like they could take the win.
In the end though, the weekend belonged to the underdogs. Series rookie Yasser Shahin won the sprint round in his Tailem Bend-backed Lamborghini, while Nathan Morcom and Grant Denyer won the 101 for Tekno Autosports in their McLaren.
Mitch Evans as solid as a rock in Monte Carlo
Photo / Sam Bloxham, GP2 Series Media
Next to his inconsistent run at round one of the GP2 Series in Barcelona, Evans seemed much happier as he bashed the kerbs around Monaco's historic street circuit.
Having qualified fourth for the first race, Evans found himself in the middle of controversy after he cut the chicane while trying to avoid Oliver Rowland. Despite being handed down a five-second penalty for cutting the course, Evans salvaged a fifth place.
Race two was an improvement, as Evans looked the best he's done this year so far — holding his starting position of fourth for the whole race without any real threat.
Toyota Racing Series graduate Artem Markelov won race one — his first ever GP2 race win. Japan's Nobuharu Matsushita won race two.
Weekend to forget for most at 24 Hours of Nürburgring
Photo / Sorg Rennsport
Three of New Zealand's most lauded GT racers lined up for the 2016 24 Hours of Nürburgring; Earl Bamber, Tom Blomqvist, and Richie Stanaway. But in the end, only Blomqvist and his BMW squad would get to see the chequered flag, finishing 12th while the other two drivers and their teams failed to finish.
But all wasn't ho hum. One of the smaller outfits on the grid with a pair of Kiwis in their driver line up finished second in the SP8T class.
Wayne Moore and Michael Eden, both dab hands at Nürburgring endurance races, drove a steady race in their nondescript BMW 335i. They even held the lead for a period. Second in class, and 53rd overall was their reward at the end of a long, long day.
MotorSport New Zealand awards night thanks competitors, volunteers, and media
Photo / Geoff Ridder
Held at Te Papa in Wellington, the 2016 MotorSport New Zealand Awards Night was, as usual, a scene of glitz and glamour — a look foreign to plenty of those in attendance who are more often seen wearing either overalls or high-viz.
Endurance champ Brendon Hartley, and a pair of open-wheeler stars in David Oxton and Jim Palmer were all inducted onto the Wall of Fame. Hartley was also one of several competitors to receive a premier motorsport award.
Among the volunteer and media award winners was Volunteer of the Year Ben Aro, and Photographers of the year Geoff Ridder (portfolio) and Steve Ritchie (single shot).
Read more about the Australian GT: Race 1 / Race 2 / Highlands 101
Read more about the GP2 Series in Monaco: Race 1 / Race 2
Read more about the 24 Hours of Nürburgring
Read more about the MotorSport New Zealand Awards Night