Break-through win for Leighs as titles decided at One-Hour NI Endurance Series finale

| Photographer Credit: Matt Smith

Christchurch’s Anthony Leighs made his break-through win in the Golden Homes North Island Endurance Series at the fourth round held at Pukekohe Park Raceway on Sunday. Driving his Audi R8 GT3, Leigh’s is the first non-V8 powered NIERDC win since 2014.

The overall title went to the McLaren duo of John de Veth and Glenn Smith before the race start.  A rule change between Rounds 3 & 4 which meant that the finale (Round 4) could now be used as a drop round.  De Veth and Smith had won all three races to date therefore giving them a second straight title. The De Veth/Smith McLaren 650 S GT3 did not make the start as a mechanical saw them in the pits early.

Tim Edgell led the initial stages of the race with John Midgley in second Lochlainn Fitzgerald Symes third and Leighs in fourth.

The two Hyundai i30N TCR cars of Rhys Gould and Gene Rollinson, the latter forced to start from the pits after missing Pit Exit Window, started to make their way through the slower traffic.

Leighs got passed Lochlainn Fitzgerald-Symes who spun at the hairpin. From there Leighs started to reel-in Tim Edgell, eventually forcing Edgell into a mistake at turn 5. allowing Leighs to take the race lead.

Smith and de Veth eventually started the race, however after a puncture and the championship already wrapped, up they elected to pit and retire the car.

After the pitstops were completed Richie Stanaway, who had worked his way into third, struck an electrical issue denying him a podium on his racing comeback.

James Webb, who had taken over from Sean Kirkpatrick, held third before Fitzgerald-Symes made a last lap pass to steal the position and the win in the Class GT-C.

Tim Edgell won the Class GT-B and finished second overall. Gene Rollinson won Class 2 win for both race and series.

Tony Anderson won Class 1 for the race while Grant Aitken and Grant Liston won the overall Class 1 title. Mark Mallard and Andrew Redward won Class 3 for the race.

One-Hour Results

Class.NameGap
1Anthony Leighs
2Tim Edgell14.4s
3Lochlain Fitzgerald-Symes57.4s
4Kirkpatrick/Webb59.2s
5John Midgley1.14.9s
6Gene Rollinson1 Lap
7Geoff Short/Martin Short1 Lap
8Kris Bostock1 Lap
9Rhys Gould2 Laps
10G Derrick/B Derrick3 Laps

Hunter wins Two-Hour dual

Ken Hunter (Chev Lunima) has won the final round for the 2Hour Clubman Enduro as Wayne Leach and Paul Burborough have taken the series for Outright and Class 1.

Extreme weather conditions forced the race to be started under safety car conditions with six cars starting from the pit lane, having either missed the pit exit window, or they pitted in the warmup laps to clear fogging windscreens.

After 5-minutes had elapsed the field were given the green flag as Scott Smith found the grass on first lap of green flag conditions.

Brendan Murphy and Brock Cooley led the early stages of the race with Ken Hunter in second and Brett Rudd who started car #99 was in third.

Ken Hunter took over the lead of the Murphy/Cooley entry before there was a incident at the 32-minute mark where the Jon and Don Udy Toyota 86 had collided with the Adam Carpenter and Adrian Hillary Honda Integra DC3.

Brett Rudd and the Leach/Burborough BMW elected not to use the first safety car to make their mandatory three-minute pitstop.

On the restart Leach and Burborough took the lead of Rudd before Brett Rudd would hand over the Holden Commodore V8 Ute to Stu Monteith at the 1hr 10min mark

Disaster would strike the Murphy/Coley Seat Leon Supercopa when the car spun at the top the hill and went backwards into the fence, putting them out the race and the championship as well as causing a second safety car.

Leach and Burborough took the opportunity to make their pitstop and on the restart Jake Stoneman, who had taken over from Simon Ussher, found himself in the lead of the race.

Hunter, who was in second, started to hound Jake Stoneman and took over the lead of the race in the dying stages to win with Stoneman second and Leach and Burborough third.

Leach and Burborough won Class 1 for the series with Glen Reid and Jamie Anderson taking out Class 2. Shane Parsons was able to finish in second position in the series and first in Class 3.

Race Results – Two-Hour

Overall and Class 1
1/ #88 Ken Hunter Chevrolet Lumina Ross
2/ #94 Simon Ussher/Jake Stoneman Ford Falcon FG V8 Ute
3/ #7 Wayne Leach/Paul Burborough BMW 235i

Class 2
1 #41 Glen Reid/Jamie Anderson BMW E36 328
2/ #191 Scott Smith/Shaun van Beers Seat Leon Supercopa
3/ #50 David and Codie Banks BMW E36 323

Class 3
1/ #52 Shane Parsons/Lindsay Lyons Honda CR-X
2/ #84 Mark Mallard/Callum Hedge Toyota 86
3/ #24 Mark Leonard/Eddie Iraia Honda Integra DC5

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