ASKO Series set to scorch Ruapuna

| Photographer Credit: Terry Marshall/Euan Cameron Photography

It’s another bumper field as the 2015 ASKO One Hour Race Series heads into its second round at Mike Pero Motorsport Park Ruapuna on Saturday 3rd October, with a field of close to 45 cars set to take the starters flag. Entries are again wildly varied and range from late model factory Porsche, Ferrari and Audi race cars through to tyre shredding V8 machinery and little Toyotas and Honda’s that Nana would normally drive. With the One Hour Race Series drivers still experiencing the thrill & strategy of endurance racing, teams and spectators are guaranteed to see some great racing action, including the old fashioned tortoise and the hare battles.

The Teretonga race was held in damp and tricky conditions and it was a real credit to all the drivers for courteous and clean race. Hugh Gardiner (Porsche 997 GT3) scorched around the Teretonga circuit snatching pole position and then going on to win the race, claiming top points in both the overall standings and in GT class. The podium was dominated by the North Island competitors with Neil Foster (Audi R8 LMS) securing second place from series regulars Sam Fillmore & Danny Stutterd (Porsche 997 GT3) third. However, as the Series heads to the home circuit for a large number of the 1hr competitors others to look out for in the exotic GT class will include Danny Whiting (Porsche 991) as well as Sue McLaughlin, Phil Hood and Russell McKenzie in Porsche 997 GT3’s and Tim O’Connor’s gorgeous Ferrari 458. But the dark horse could be the wild twin turbocharged Porsche 996 GT2 TT of Grant Silvester & Mike Bushell who will be looking to stretch its legs at Ruapuna after tippy toeing through the treacherous Teretonga conditions.

Class 1 (3501cc+) also always brandishes spectacular machinery and it was the immaculate C5 Corvette of Brian Scott who took class honors at Teretonga after class favorite Chris Henderson (Toyota AE86 V8) suffered electrical issues and only managed a solitary lap of the initial race. Second in class was 2014 class winner Johnny Waldron (Nissan R32 GTR) and as predicted it was the reliability of the NZ6 spec Commodore of husband and wife team Vicki & Derek Curzon that helped then snare third in class and they will be in a battle for the final podium position with Mike Patterson & Brent Hill (Mercedes E430). New to Class 1 for Ruapuna will be former series champion Grant Williams & Brent Buist who will finally debut the C6 Corvette that is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

The competition will be fiercely fought right through each class within the Series and especially Class 2 (2001cc-3500cc) which probably has the most diverse range of cars. Teretonga class winners Pat & Ryan Heagney (Toyota AE86 turbo) will again square off against the Honda S2000 turbo of Matt Jackson & Steve Parker who briefly lead the Teretonga race and Mike Driver (Seat Leon Supercopa) who hopes to have his Teretonga niggles rectified. This class sees everything from genuine ex European Touring cars to cars that competed in the BMW Mini Challenge and Mazda Pro7 categories, through to the classics like Guy Stewarts older Porsche 911SC.

First round honors for Class 3&4 (0-2000cc) went to Grant Aitken (Toyota 86), just ahead of 2014 class winner Gary Ponting (Honda Civic) and the steady & reliable Marc Denton (BMW E30) taking a well-deserved 3rd place. These three will have their work cut out at Ruapuna with the return of the giant killing Toyota Starlet of Stu Black, who suffered a major engine failure during Teretonga qualifying. A few uncharacteristic DNF’s from the baby class will see Art Markus (Starlet) James King (CRX) and Rhys Turner (Civic) all looking forward to seeing the chequered flag and although this class has our smallest cars, every year it produces fantastic down to the wire racing and expect nothing less this year.

After Ruapuna, the ASKO One Hour Race Series moves to Timaru’s Levels Raceway on Saturday 17th October for Series’ Grand Finale, where a Series Champion will be crowned. Thanks to Series sponsor ASKO Appliances as well as class sponsors Mobil 1, Pacific Invoice Finance, Hagley windows & doors, Carters Tyre Service and Armstrong Prestige, the ASKO Series will again have the richest prize money pool in NZ Motorsport, with One Hour competitors in for a share of over $30,000- that will be paid out as prize money for 2015, as well as major spot prizes up for grabs to a competitors in either the one hour or three hour Series.

There are still a handful of entries available for the Ruapuna round and for more information, 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 Club information and live updates on race day can be found on the clubs facebook page www.facebook.com/sierdcnz, and for more information on the series sponsor ASKO, please visit www.asko.co.nz. The Ruapuna action starts from 10.30am Saturday and gate entry is only $15-00.

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