All on the line at Timaru this Saturday

| Photographer Credit: Euan Cameron Photography

Everything is on the line as the ASKO SI Endurance Series readies itself for this weekend’s Grand Finale at the Timaru International Motor Raceway. The tight and twisty nature of this circuit always produces close and exciting racing and expect nothing less for 2015. With an amazing 11 teams that still have a mathematical chance of taking out the overall 3hr Series victory, spectators & fans can be assured that teams will leave absolutely nothing on the table as they fight it out for Series honours, pride and prizemoney as the ASKO Endurance Series again comes down to the wire.

The 2015 series has been a real rollercoaster with all of the top teams experiencing various problems along the way, shaking up the races and leaving the pre-season favourites behind the 8 ball. 2014 Series champion and defending NZ champion Andrew Bagnall will miss the Levels race. The new Audi R8 LMS Ultra that he was to share with series sponsor Rick Armstrong has suffered gearbox issues at both previous rounds, not even making the race start at Ruapuna and has subsequently been ruled out for Levels.

This also means that as defending NZ champion Bagnall may not even qualify for the 2016 NZ Endurance Championship event. Another pre-season favourite is the ferocious GT3 Camaro of current NI champions Inky Tulloch/John McIntyre who bounced back after a huge crash at Teretonga to break the outright saloon car lap record at Ruapuna during qualifying. However the race was not as successful with electrical gremlins thwarting their charge, however another 5th place finish still sees them in contention plus they take away a new SIERDC Ruapuna lap record.

So it is Allan Dippie/Scott O’Donnell (Porsche 997 Cup S) that currently lead both the Series and the GT class, but with the narrow points system and quick-fire 3 round Series their championship lead is described as slender at best as they only hold a 4 point margin over Angus & George McFarlane (Porsche 997 Cup R). The McFarlane’s need to win the race to secure the title or finish with a car between themselves and O’Donnell/Dippie if they finish on the podium. The McFarlanes go into the Series final in a strong position after coming close to clinching victory at Teretonga, only to be denied with a puncture on the penultimate lap and then breaking the race distance record at Ruapuna.

Other cars that will be looking for redemption at Levels as they chase the final podium position in the glitzy GT class include the Carter brothers Falcon V8 Supercar who led both the Teretonga and Ruapuna races and these brothers will be wanting to perform well at their ‘home’ circuit at Levels. The Commodore V8ST of Simon McLennan/Richard Moore easily led the first half of the Teretonga race but hardly got to make an impact at Ruapuna before a catastrophic diff failure ruined their race and series asperations, along with Sam Fillmore/Danny Stutterd (Porsche 997 GT3) who will be rueing their Teretonga DNF. It was amazing to see the MRX built Chevy Cruise V8 make a return at Ruapuna after it was another car to suffer significant damage at Teretonga. The car has suffered from a series of new car glitches and the team will be hoping for a trouble free run in Timaru.

The battle in the other classes is as equally hotly contested, and Class 1 (3501cc+) has been dominated by the V8 RX7 of Hamish Frew/Darryl Barrett and ultimately the class win is theirs to loose. However the battle for 2nd & 3rd in class will be hot between the sister V8 RX7 of Paul Rickerby/Graeme Rhodes and magnificent twin turbo Toyota 86 of Craig & Scotty McDermid. But either one of these two teams can still snatch class victory should the Frew/Barrett machine fail to finish. The fly in the ointment at Levels could be the inclusion of the Corvette of Grant Williams/Brent Buist who could shakeup both the race and ultimately the Series positions. Sadly the opportunity to see two Corvettes go head to head in this class wont eventuate with the thundering Corvette C6R of Bruce Davidson/Dave Garden set to miss the Timaru round due to ongoing engine issues.

The Class 2 (2001-3500cc) is another class that looks on paper like it has been dominated by one car but in reality that hasn’t been the case. The show stopping BMW M3 turbo of Shane Helms/Rob Bolland currently lead the class from Jim Wallace/Stephen Grellet (Seat Leon Supacopa) with the Honda Civic 2.4 of Barry Moore/Robert Gjaja/Tim Mackersy ready to strike whilst currently filling the final podium position. Returning for Levels after a major engine failure at Ruapuna is the Subaru WRX of John & Angus Petrie as well as the BMW M3 of Pavlos Van Aalst/Dean McGuigan. There are also a couple of 1hr cars looking to roll the dice with entries into the 3hr race for the Pro 7 RX7 spec car of former NZ RX7 champ Jarrod Parmenter/Andrew Brunton and Pat & Ryan Heagney (Toyota AE86 turbo) both hoping that a solid finish could see them snare one of the final qualifying spots for the NZ Endurance Championship event.

The combined 0-2000cc Class 3&4 is the only class of 8 spread across the 1hr & 3hr races that has already been sealed, with Mike Ham taking the spoils in the ever reliable Peugeot 106. He has an unassailable class lead and with two good solid finishes is also well inside the top 10 in the overall championship. In a class that is known for its normally reliable cars, missing from Levels will be Garry Morrell/Logan Morrell (Integra) that has headed back to the North Island after destroying two gearboxes in one day at Ruapuna and the class winning James Marshall Motorsport Integra from Ruapuna which is still up for lease for the Series final. Working hard to make the Series finale is the remarkable wee Lotus Exige of Mark Meadows/Barry Clader who are trying to make the Levels round after a nasty fire during Friday testing at Ruapuna.

So with 95 points on offer both the overall and class championships are far from sealed. As with any endurance racing a slight misfortune either on the track or during their pit stops can make or break a drivers entire Series and with still so much to be decided the Levels race will be a real cliff-hanger. The whole series can change in a heartbeat, but the ASKO Appliances catch phrase “built to last” will ring true as the old saying goes; to finish first – first you must finish, and things can change in a heartbeat as a slight problem, mistake or DNF can have an immediate and dramatic effect on the standings. So as we approach the final round of the 2015 ASKO SI Endurance Series there will be teams desperate to consolidate their championship positions, whilst others who are out of contention will throw caution to the wind in the pursuit of a class or race glory plus the prestige of setting new lap and race records.

The Overall ASKO Endurance series winner will be awarded the coveted ‘South Canterbury Toyota Cup’ plus a cheque for $10,000 thanks to Series sponsors ASKO Appliances, Mobil 1, Carters Tyre Service, Hagley windows & doors, Armstrong Prestige and Pacific Invoice Finance. There is also over $20,000 to be paid out as class prizemoney across both the 3hr & 1hr series’ and also up for grabs as spot prizes are an original watercolour painting by Dunedin artist Norman Sinclair valued at approx. $10,000-00, a set of Michelin race tyres, and product from ENDLESS advanced brake Technologies.

Entries are still available for the 3hr race, and for more information on the South Island Endurance Series, entries, or to be added to the South Island Endurance Racing Drivers Club’s e-mailing list, please contact Chris Dunn via e-mail at sierdc@xtra.co.nz ph 021-107-9293, or information and live updates can be found on their facebook page at www.facebook.com/sierdcnz .. For more information on Series sponsor ASKO Appliances please visit www.asko.co.nz


ASKO SOUTH ISLAND ENDURANCE SERIES

Points after Ruapuna – Round 2 of 3

Overall

1st Allan Dippie/Scott O’Donnell (Porsche 997 Cup S) 205 points

2nd Angus McFarlane/George McFarlane (997 Cup R) 201 points

3rd Inky Tulloch/John McIntyre (Camaro/Integra T) 178 points

4th Darryl Barrett/Hamish Frew (Mazda RX7 V8) 172 points

5th Shane Helms/Rob Bolland (BMW M3 Turbo) 157 points

6th Jim Wallace/Stephen Grellet (Seat Leon Supacopa) 152 points

7th Mike Ham (Peugeot 106) 142 points

8th Matt Carter/Dwayne Carter (Falcon BA V8SC) 130 points

9th Sam Fillmore/Danny Stutterd (Porsche 997 GT3) 126 points

10th= Paul Rickerby/Graeme Rhodes (Mazda RX7 V8) 116 points

10th= Scott McDermid/Craig McDermid (Toyota 86) 116 points

12th Simon McLennan/Richard Moore (Commodore V8ST) 107 points

13th Moore/Gjaja/Mackerset (Honda Civic Type R) 100 points

14th Ken Sinclair (Peugeot 106) 84 points

15th Hayden Knighton/Kane Lawson (997 GT3) 82 points

GT Class

1st Allan Dippie/Scott O’Donnell (Porsche 997 Cup S) 205 points

2nd Angus McFarlane/George McFarlane (997 Cup R) 201 points

3rd Matt Carter/Dwayne Carter (Falcon V8SC) 130 points

4th Sam Fillmore/Danny Stutterd (Porsche 997 GT3) 126 points

5th Simon McLennan/Richard Moore (Commodore V8ST) 122 points

Class 1 (3501cc+)

1st Darryl Barrett/Hamish Frew (Mazda RX7 V8) 205 points

2nd Scott McDermid/Craig McDermid (Toyota 86) 135 points

3rd Paul Rickerby/Graeme Rhodes (Mazda RX7 V8) 130 points

4th Bruce Davidson/Dave Garden (Corvette C6R) 40 points

5th Perry Scarfe/Dean Perkins (Falcon BA) 20 points

Class 2 (2001-3500cc)

1st Shane Helms/Rob Bolland (BMW M3 Turbo) 205 points

2nd Jim Wallace/Stephen Grellet (Seat Leon Supacopa) 196 points

3rd Moore/Gjaja/Mackersey (Honda Civic Type R) 126 points

4th Inky Tulloch/John McIntyre (Honda Integra T) 115 points

5th John Petrie/Angus Petrie (Subaru WRX) 20 points

Class 3&4 (0-2000cc)

1st Mike Ham (Peugeot 106) 205 points

2nd Ken Sinclair (Peugeot 106) 115 points

3rd Jayden Dodge/Matt Williams (Honda Integra) 95 points

4th Dennis Ham (Peugeot 106) 90 points

5th Garry Morrell/Logan Morrell (Honda Integra) 20 points

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