Weather dominates treacherous V8 finale
Dangerous weather spoils final round of the 2015–’16 NZ Touring Car Championship
The final two races of the BNT NZ Touring Car Championship was marred by torrential rain, with conditions getting so bad that the final race of the season had to be severed short after just two laps of racing.
Simon Evans and Nick Ross shared the class one honours, Ross taking his first race of the season after race three was called.
“There was a lot of water on the track. I had backed right off, [...] but the only way to get the water off the track was to have cars circulating — it was a marginal call,” said Evans of the race-three conditions.
“Overall I’m really pleased with the weekend. We had won the championship with a round to go, and we came here wanting to put on a good performance, make the car better, and win races.”
Evans' race-two win wasn't easy, after the Smeg racer got a tardy start, spinning his rear wheels and gifting the lead of the race to Tim Edgell.
Edgell held the lead for most of the distance, only for Evans to latch onto the rear of the Chesters Commodore as the pair navigated traffic — eventually passing Edgell before building a comfortable margin. Total Lubricants Nissan driver Nick Ross rounded out the podium.
The final race lasted just two laps, before torrential rain and large puddles of standing water saw the race, and the event, called off prematurely. Race two podium getter Ross won the race, after having won the start from second-place on the grid. Mitch Cunningham and rookie Sam Barry completed the podium.
Brad Lathrope's MWN Civil Falcon was in a league of its own in race two. Photo / Matthew Hansen
One of the highlights of Sunday's two races was young Aucklander Brad Lathrope clinching his first win in the class two series, after a season of close calls.
"Coming into this round we knew we could do it. Final round, home track; what more could I ask for? I'm just over the moon," Lathrope said to Driven.
"At the last three rounds we showed that we've had the pace to be right at the front. We had the opportunity to lead some of the races, just unfortunately came unstuck each [time].
"The way I see it the wet's quite a leveller. I was a little more agressive off the start, and tried to get to the front as soon as I could. That was on the first lap. Just tried to pull a gap, and then held in there."
The other class two race was won by series champ Brock Cooley, who held down the leading spot of the class two competitors when the final race was red flagged.
Despite his race-two disappointments, Tim Edgell did enough over the course of the event to leap from fifth place in the standings all the way to second behind Simon Evans, having passed Mitch Cunningham, and the absent pair of Jason Bargwanna and Angus Fogg in the points.