Invercargill’s Scott O’Donnell and Dunedin’s Allan Dippie won Saturday’s ASKO Appliances 3 Hour Endurance Race at Teretonga Park, Invercargill in stunning fashion as they swept into the lead in their Porsche GT3 Cup S on the penultimate lap of the race as previous frontrunners George/Angus McFarlane of Christchurch (Porsche) pitted with a puncture. The McFarlane’s rejoined to snatch third behind the Auckland duo of Matt/Dwayne Carter in their Falcon V8 Supercar which had also been prominent throughout the race. The O’Donnell/Dippie car suffered it’s own drama early in the race when the bonnet flew open, dropping it down the order as it pitted for repairs.
Simon McLennan and Richard Moore of Auckland had taken the early lead in their Holden Commodore V8 SuperTourer and looked on target to win only to pit with broken wheel studs late in the race. The Audi R8 LMS Ultra of Andrew Bagnall/Rick Armstrong had qualified fastest but on lap two tangled with the Carter Falcon sending both cars off the track bringing out a Safety Car. The Falcon resumed but the Audi lost several laps in the pits with wheel damage only to cause the next Safety Car period when it went off again and touched the tyre wall in a similar spot later in the race. Inky Tulloch and John McIntyre raced Tulloch’s Honda Integra after their GT3 Sareni Camaro was damaged in a crash on Friday and grabbed a fine fifth place behind Darryl Barrett and Hamish Frew of Christchurch. In other action the Porsche of Aucklander Sam Fillmore and Danny Stutterd of Australia caused the third safety car period of the race when their Porsche left the track. They went off at the same spot again immediately after resuming. The Chevy Cruze of Blenheim’s John Wadsworth/Warren Croft also caused some excitement when it went off the track and caught fire.
Hugh Gardiner of Auckland in his Porsche 997 GT3 won the opening race on Saturday, the ASKO Appliances 1 Hour Enduro. Gardiner, the 2014 Series Champion, overcame two early Safety Car interventions after incidents and a drive through penalty for passing under yellow flags to surge to victory one lap ahead of Aucklander Neil Foster in the Audi R8 LMS Ultra. Sam Fillmore and Danny Stutterd were third in their Porsche 997 GT3 after also copping a drive through penalty. Danny Whiting of Christchurch was fourth with Tim O’Connor of Lower Hutt in a Ferrari 458 Challenge fifth. An amazing field of 37 cars took the start of the race on a damp track which dried out quickly.
Sunday’s action saw several classes on track. Brian Scott of Dunedin won the first two Noel McIntyre Drainage Clubmans Saloon races in his Corvette from Invercargill driver Liam MacDonald with Doug Munro of Invercargill and Paul Muir of Gore sharing a third place apiece. Scott also won the 2501cc & over section in the class race while Greg Elder of Gore took the 1601-2500cc class and David Robertson the 0-1300cc class. Andrew Downs of Christchurch in a Star Car won the Handicap Race which finished under safety car with Invercargill drivers Dean Maw second and Dave Robertson third. The Flying Farewell saw another win for Scott with MacDonald close behind and Munro third.
Current New Zealand Champion Hamish Collins of Timaru showed his class in the Pro7 Saloons winning all three races after some good battles with Ken Thompson of Mosgiel and Jack Milligan of Prebbleton. Thompson ended the day with two seconds and a third and Milligan one second and two thirds.
The already small Sports & Racing Car field was further depleted when fastest qualifier Jordan Michels had a coming together with Steve Heffernan in the opening race of the day leaving Dave Harris of Invercargill to win all four contests from 17-year-old debutant Joseph Oliver who got closer to the veteran as the day progressed.