Gardiner too quick but Foster clinches Series

| Photographer Credit: Terry Marshall/Euan Cameron Photography

Neil Foster has won the One Hour ASKO South Island Endurance Series by one point at the final round at Timaru International Motor Raceway on Saturday. Round winner Hugh Gardiner was too quick for the rest of the 38 starters that took the grid in wet and cold conditions. Gardiner convincingly won from second overall #23 Sam Fillmore/Danny Stutterd(Porsche 997 GT3) with #8 Danny Whiting (Porsche 911) third.

Fourth for Foster (Audi R8 LMS) was enough to seal the victory but his efforts were just about undone by the safety car fifteen minutes into the race. The Audi pitted at the same time as the deployment of the safety car when the #44 car Brent and Hamish Collins collected a wall. With a rush of drivers conducting their compulsory pitstop the Audi re-joined the track and found itself a lap down on the leader Gardiner.

“I’m pretty thrilled to be able to do this in my first year of the One Hour,” commented Foster. “It was touch and go there for a bit with losing a lap under Safety Car and like everyone else we started on wet (grooved) tyres and as the track dried out they started to become a handful.

Gardiner was undoubtedly the quickest throughout the series but retiring from the second round with panel and radiator damage scuttled his attempt at consecutive series championships, finishing sixth overall.

“I love coming to this event in Timaru, the circuit and the people,” said Gardiner. “We’re really pleased with the way the car went today despite the conditions. Even though we didn’t finish at Ruapuna (round 2) we felt it was important to show that we still could give it a crack. It’s just a good series and so well run.”

Third placed Danny Whiting also finished third overall from Tim O’Connor’s Ferrari 458 and Phil Hood (Porsche GT3).

First home and Series winner in Class 1 was the Corvette C5 of Brian Scott from Johnny Waldron (Nissan Skyline R32). Mike Driver (Seat Leon Supercopa) won Class 2 from Guy Stewart (Porsche 911SC) who was lucky to race. His Porsche brakes appeared to have locked up on the warm-up lap and after being ‘craned-off’, Stewart was eventually able to re-join the race and finished 25th overall.

While Daniel Cropp was the highest finisher in Class 3 & 4 it was Grant Aitken (Toyota TR86) that won the series from Garry Ponting (Honda Civic).

Benjamin Carrell is a freelance motorsport writer and currently edits He writes for a number of Kiwi drivers and motorsport clubs. That's when he's not working in his horticultural day-job or training for the next road or mtb cycle race!

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