Evans grabs V8 title after dramatic Manfeild round
Smeg Racing's Simon Evans has wrapped up the 2015–’16 BNT NZ Touring Car championship crown with one round to spare, after a weekend-long battle with André Heimgartner at Manfeild Autocourse.
Evans complemented his race one win with a win in race two, after getting the jump on the Bartercard driver on a late-race restart, holding off an aggressive Heimgartner over the closing few laps.
Heimgartner was able to get Evans back in race three, taking the win after slicing through the reversed grid. Evans managed to pop out ahead of the recently-scooped Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport driver after the pit cycle, but that didn't last long — Heimgartner blasting past to take a comfortable win.
However, that wouldn't take the shine off Evans' series win — the pair of drivers indulging themselves in some burnouts in front of the fans. The burnouts later cost both teams, as they both incurred $1,000 fines for their smokey exploits post-race.
“Stoked to do it with one round to spare. Thanks to everyone here for making it possible — hardest working team in pit lane!” Evans later said, after it had been confirmed that he was champion.
“We rolled out of the truck on Friday and actually struggled a little bit. I'm pleased we managed to turn it around.”
Photo / Matthew Hansen
Evans' V8 championship wasn't the only one resolved in Fielding over the weekend, after Brock Cooley (pictured above) was able to sew up the class two title in his Speedy Signs Ford Falcon after claiming his fourth round win in a row.
“To say we are stoked is an understatement, and such a reward for the whole team and all of their hard work,” said Cooley.
The round was marred by an incident that took place in parc ferme behind pit lane, which resulted in Property Tutors Commodore pilot Angus Fogg being excluded from the second V8 race of the weekend.
"After Race 14, in the pit area you slow [sic] your car and directed it at other team members, Motorsport New Zealand officials, and members of the public, you engaged 1st gear and broke traction leaving black marks on the on the [sic] seal," read the official statement from Race Director Craig Finlayson.
Photo / Matthew Hansen
The exclusion, and a penalty Fogg incurred during the race following contact with Tim Edgell were the latest setbacks after a difficult season. Fogg and his AFR team revealed later in the afternoon that they would pull the plug on their involvement in the series.
“This hasn't happened overnight, this has happened over the whole season, over a few years really. It's been brewing, and we've decided that we've had enough. Maybe it's the heat of the day, but we're [...] actually a little bit relieved,” said Fogg.
“We've tried pretty bloody hard, behind the scenes as well — I've done a huge amount of work on the technical side of things — that some have been taking the piss out of. So that hasn't helped my decision.”
The final round of the season will take place at Pukekohe Park on April 16–17.