Hot ASKO SI Endurance Series action anticipated for Levels

| Photographer Credit: Euan Cameron Photography

The ASKO One Hour Race Series hits Timaru’s Levels Raceway this Saturday with an overflowing field of cars and the makings of another great days racing as teams chase the last available points in both overall and class standings. Just like both previous rounds this season, fans can be assured of some outstanding race action especially on the tight and technical Levels circuit, where a new ASKO One Hour Race Series champion will be crowned.

However, the ASKO Appliances catch phrase “built to last”, will ring true as the old saying goes; to finish first, first you must finish and there will be plenty of cars of all shapes & sizes capable of challenging for both the overall and class placing’s as well as a lucrative top 20 series finish to qualify for the upcoming NZ One Hour Endurance Championships in March 2016.

Series fast man Hugh Gardiner lowered the SIERDC 1hr lap record at Ruapuna before contact with a slower car resulted in a punctured radiator and his first DNF since joining the Series. This handed both the race win and the Series lead to the beautiful Audi R8 LMS Ultra of series newcomer Neil Foster. However with the quick fire series and tight points structure there are still an incredible 15 other cars than can still claim the overall series glory, and as many endurance competitors know you only need to take your eye off the ball for a split second and your race can change dramatically. Sam Fillmore/Danny Stutterd (Porsche 997 GT3) sit 2nd overall in the series standings ahead of Tim O’Connor (Ferrari 458) who is a solitary point ahead of Danny Whiting (Porsche 991) in what could become a winner takes all battle for the final podium position.

The overall placings also reflect the exciting GT class but others to look out for include the fire breathing twin turbo Porsche 996 of Grant Silvester/Mike Bushell and the fast improving Russell McKenzie (Porsche 997 GT3) who would both be further up the series ladder if it wasn’t for DNF’s at Ruapuna. Also watch out for Series regular Phil Hood (997 GT3) and female speedster Sue McLaughlin as she is really starting to come to grips with her new 997 GT3.

The battles will be just as fierce right through the field and Brian Scott (Corvette C5) narrowly leads the Class 1 (3501cc+) from 2014 class champion Johnny Waldron (Nissan Skyline GTR) and then the super reliable NZ 6 spec Commodore of husband & wife team Derek & Vicki Curzon. Chasing them down for the final podium spot is Mike Paterson/Brent Hill Mercedes Benz E430 and the Porsche 964 of Chris Fleury who will be rueing a disastrous result at Round One in Teretonga. However pre-season class favourite Chris Henderson (AE86 V8), who actually lead the opening section of the race at Ruapuna, will now miss the Series finale after non finishes in both previous rounds.

Class 2 (2001cc -3500cc) is currently lead by Mike Driver (Seat Leon Supercopa) who, although having car troubles in both races to date, has had 2 crucial finishes and leads the class from Guy Stewart driving his older classic Porsche 911 SC. Third in class is the Pro7 RX7 of Russell Burgess, also proving that finishing races and collecting points is the key to success. Those looking for redemption at Levels will include Blenheim Father & son combo Pat & Ryan Heagney (Toyota AE86 turbo) and the rapid Honda S2000 turbo of Matt Jackson/Steve Parker who will both be trying to clamber back up the rankings in a class that sees an amazing mix of cars from a hoard of various BMW touring cars & BMW Mini’s to Rotary powered Mazda Rx7’s and various turbocharged monsters.

Class 3&4 (0-2000cc) is a true winner takes all class with Grant Aitken (Toyota 86) and 2014 class champion Gary Ponting (Honda Civic) currently tied at the top of the points table. Third in class is the very consistent Marc Denton (BMW E30) from Ian Wooster (Mazda MX5) and the 2K Cup Trueno of series rookie Vaughan Moloney and these three will be hunting the final class podium position and the series prizemoney cheque that goes with it. However it is likely to be the Starlet of Stu Black who sets the pace in this class although 2 DNF’s have left him well out of overall class contention.

Not only are teams racing for overall and class positions and silverware, but also for a share of the over $30,000 purse that will be paid out at Levels. Thanks to series sponsors Pacific Invoice Finance, Armstrong Prestige, Carters Tyre Service, Hagley windows & doors, Mobil 1 and series sponsor ASKO Appliances, the Series will again have the richest prize money pool in NZ Motorsport that will be paid out based on class points across both the 3 Hour and 1 Hour Series, ensuring that prizemoney is spread right through the field.

There are also various awards and spot prizes including an original watercolour painting by High Country artist Norman Sinclair valued at approx. $10,000-00; a set of Michelin tyres and several thousand dollars’ worth of prizes from ENDLESS Advance braking technologies that will all be given away as spot prizes to competitors in the series

So with 95 championship points on offer for the Levels round, every single class plus the overall series spoils are still up for grabs. However one thing is guaranteed and that is with a capacity grid and wildly varied field of cars on the tight Timaru circuit anything can happen. At the end of race day Saturday there will be a new ASKO One Hour Race Series Champion crowned, the question is who will it be?


Points after Ruapuna – Round 2 of 3


1st Neil Foster (Audi R8 LMS) 205 points

2nd Sam Fillmore/Danny Stutterd (Porsche 997 GT3) 196 points

3rd Tim O’Connor (Ferrari 458) 185 points

4th Danny Whiting (Porsche 997 GT3) 184 points

5th Phil Hood (Porsche 997 GT3) 175 points

6th= Brian Scott (Corvette C5) 160 points

6th= Sue McLaughlin (Porsche 997 GT3) 160 points

8th Mike Driver (Seat Leon Supacopa) 145 points

9th Hugh Gardiner (Porsche 997 GT3) 135 points

10th Johnny Waldron (Nissan Skyline R32) 134 points

11th= Grant Aitken (Toyota 86) 130 points

11th= Garry Ponting (Honda Civic) 130 points

13th Guy Stewart (Porsche 911SC) 128 points

14th Grant Silvester/Mike Bushell (996 GT3 turbo) 113 points

15th Marc Denton (BMW E30) 110 points

GT Class

1st Neil Foster (Audi R8 LMS) 205 points

2nd Sam Fillmore/Danny Stutterd (Porsche 997 GT3) 196 points

3rd Tim O’Connor (Ferrari 458) 185 points

4th Danny Whiting (Porsche 997 GT3) 184 points

5th Phil Hood (Porsche 997 GT3) 175 points

Class 1 (3501cc+)

1st Brian Scott (Corvette C5) 210 points

3rd Johnny Waldron (Nissan Skyline R32) 200 points

4th Vicki & Derek Curzon (Holden Commodore) 185 points

5th M Paterson/B Hill (Mercedes E430) 178 points

5th Chris Fleury (Porsche 964) 126 points

Class 2 (2001-3500cc)

1st Mike Driver (Seat Leon Supacopa) 201 points

2nd Guy Stewart (Porsche 911SC) 185 points

3rd Russell Burgess (Mazda RX7) 163 points

4th G McDermid/L McDermid (Mini Challenge) 157 points

5th Pat Heagney/Ryan Heagney (Toyota AE86 turbo) 115 points

Class 3&4 (0-2000cc)

1st= Grant Aitken (Toyota 86) 205 points

1st= Garry Ponting (Honda Civic) 205 points

3rd Marc Denton (BMW E30) 188 points

4th Ian Wooster (Mazda MX5) 181 points

5th Vaughan Moloney (Toyota Trueno 2K Cup) 166 points

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