Having won the opening round of the 2019 Carter’s Tyres South Island Endurance Series Three Hour race at Teretonga Park Invercargill a fortnight ago, Neil Foster and Jonny Reid (Audi R8) will look to continue their form heading to the second round at Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell on Saturday. The current NZ Endurance champions are very aware of the high level of competition in this year’s four-round series.
“Highlands is an amazing circuit, one we haven’t done a lot of mileage around,” commented Foster. “We expect a tough and challenging round as this season there are a lot more cars capable of winning. It isn’t a long circuit and there will be plenty of fast cars and lots of traffic.”
Their win at Teretonga wasn’t straight forward. “We did have some issues during the race. We bent the steering early on which made it interesting. But overall pretty happy with the win.”
Spare-heading their competition is the very competitive Chev Camaro GT3 of John McIntyre and Simon Gilbertson. Their fifth place at Teretonga was a well-earned come-back after they had to pit early due to a broken radiator clip. It proved that this GT3 will be quick and competitive on Saturday.
Also proving quick at Teretonga was the Aston Martin GT3 of Highlands circuit owner Tony Quinn and co-driver Damon Leitch. They were on course for victory only to be thwarted by a gearbox issue, retiring the car with less than 40 minutes remaining. Joining the entry on Saturday will be another Aston Martin, the new Vantage GT4 of Greg Brinck and Stephen Harrison.
Also having its debut season is the Audi R8 GT3 EVO of Dale Chapman/Marc Doran/ Andrew Waite. The trio finished second at Teretonga and will be highly competitive at Highlands particularly with in the hands of Waite, a local race-driver instructor at Highlands. The third quick Audi entrant, a R8 LMS Ultra of Ben Byers and Christina Orr-West was third at Teretonga ahead of the Paul Kelly/Anthony Leighs Porsche 991 Cup car who won Class D. Both cars are expected to be in the mix for a podium finish.
Other new entrants include the Sam Collins/Paul Radisich/Nick Ross MRX built Ford Mustang. A unique diesel powered 3.0 litre BMW 150D will be in the hands of Glen Chappel and Mike Eady. The car won its class in the Nurburgring 24 Hour, Barcelona 24 Hour and the Slovakia 24 Hour races.
Rhys Gould and Gene Rollinson are back with their very quick Hyundai i30N TCR car. They easy won Class B at Teretonga and finished a credible sixth overall.
Arron Black/Stuart black will look to repeat their Class A win in their BMW E46 WTC as will the Class C Ford Falcon of Perry Scarfe/Grant Silvester.
Thirty-seven cars are entered for the Three Hour race that gets underway on Saturday afternoon following morning qualifying and the One Hour Series race.