Underdog triumphs, car failures, and a historic event win
It was a jam-packed weekend for motorsport fans in New Zealand, with a selection of New Zealand race-car drivers competing all over the world, from Japan to Austria to ... Australia. Here's everything you need to know about the weekend of motorsport that was.
Tim Slade takes seven years to take first win, 24 hours to take second
Photo / Freightliner Racing
It took him more than 250 race starts, but Tim Slade was finally able to break his duck and win a race in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship. He then came back the next day, and won a second.
The Woodstock Winton SuperSprint, round number fifth round of the season, was punctuated, underlined, and italicized by a pair of incredibly solid drives from Slade and his Freightliner Racing Holden Commodore — the wins helping muffle calls that the driver should be on the chopping block for next season.
“226 starts, two in one weekend, pole and quickest in practice – I hope this isn’t a dream … and I don’t wake up,” he said after race two.
It was an inconsistent weekend for the Kiwi V8 contingent. Scott McLaughlin's second-place finish in the first race was enough for him to take over the championship lead. But he'd lose it following Sunday's race. Fabian Coulthard also made the podium.
Click the following links for the reports to races one, and two.
Strong speed leads to podium for Blomqvist
The contentiously Kiwi Tom Blomqvist was on form over the weekend at round two of the DTM; Europe's premier touring-car championship. Starting second in race one, he would eventually haul his Ice Watch BMW to a second-place finish — in a race dominated by BMWs and ultimately won by Marco Wittman.
“I was already hoping for victory,” said Blomqvist.
“After all, I also started from second place before taking my first win at Oschersleben. [...] But I had soon used all my DRS options. Moreover, Marco was very fast and, just like me, he didn’t make any mistakes.”
The second backed up a solid eighth-place finish Blomqvist claimed at the season opener at Hockenheim, and saw him jump to sixth in the title standings.
A sixth in race two helped further cement him in the championship standings, as BMW counterpart Timo Glock took the win.
Paddon's Rally de Portugal doesn't quite go to plan ...
Photo / Hyundai Motorsport
After the incredible highs of Rally Argentina, all eyes were on Geraldine's Hayden Paddon to see if he could replicate his rally-winning South American speed. He clocked a couple of quiet opening stages, before a seemingly small error put paid to his and co-driver John Kennard's campaign on special stage five.
Clipping a bank, Paddon and his i20 rolled down a bank, with the i20 spectacularly bursting into flames soon after.
"We started the morning quite well despite some small technical niggles. We didn’t lose too much time and were definitely keeping in touch. We were hoping to close the gap in the afternoon loop but it wasn’t to be. Unfortunately, we were caught out by a big hole in the road on SS5 that sent the car into a roll off the road,” said Paddon.
"The heat from the exhaust then set the surrounding bushes on fire, and totally destroyed the car. The consequences for a small mistake are very cruel. I’m sorry for the team and vow to come back stronger in Sardinia, a rally where we scored a podium last year.”
Indifferent weekend for Cassidy's Formula 3 hopes, as huge crash overshadows event
Photo / FIA Formula 3 European Championship
From the moment qualifying was completed, former Toyota Racing Series champion Nick Cassidy's weekend would be a game of catch up.
Starting towards the bottom of the top 10, and occasionally outside of it, there would be no return to the podium for former series leader Cassidy at the Austrian round of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship.
Instead, he would have to make do with a best finish of sixth in race one, balanced out by a DNF in race two and a 10th in race three.
The weekend was marred by a catastropic three-way crash just five minutes away from the end of race one. Ryan Tveter, Pedro Piquet, and Zhi Chong Li all involved, with Li and Tveter hospitalized after the crash.
Click the following links to reports for races one, two, and three.
The maddest Mike takes first ever Formula Drift round win
Photo / sourced
The ever charismatic 'Mad Mike' Whiddett took his very first round win in a Formula Drift event, this one coming at round two of Formula Drift Japan at the Ebisu circuit.
Whiddett had a relatively simple progression to the final four, with his rivals striking problems. His final two battles though, against Seimi Tanaka and Masashi Yokoi, were a much more difficult challenge.
The win sees him clinch the top step of the World Formula Drift Championship, with several race events still to run.
Like Cassidy above, Dixon and his Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet simply seemed to lack the required mojo. During provisional qualifying Dixon made a small number of minor mistakes, enough to help the team only set the 13th best time.
On pole was Canadian James Hinchcliffe, bouncing back from his horror crash at Indy 12 months ago to be the car to beat in what the class refer to as their 'fast nine'. Similar to a shootout scenario, the series will have another separate session to battle over who will be in first place for the start of the race next weekend.