Christchurch’s Caine Lobb topped the points at the end of a very competitive opening round of the 2015/2016 SsangYong Yong Racing Series, Powered By The BNZ Bank, at The Taupo Motorsport Park last weekend (October 17/18).
An impressive twenty-six drivers competed at Taupo Motorsport Park for the start of the second ever SsangYong Racing Series, with each of the distinctive SsangYong Actyon utes running a new Limited Slip Differential, and a rear Disc Brake setup with adjustable brake bias for the first time. Lap times in practice were already over four seconds faster than the opening round at Taupo last season.
Lobb, a former NZ Junior Kartsport and NZV8 Ute Champion, was the fastest qualifier in the LDV Commercial Vehicles sponsored ute, ahead of another Christchurch driver Jayden Dodge in his Stadium Finance Actyon. Defending Series Champion and current NZ Open Kartsport Champion Daniel Connor, running his #1 SsangYong Actyon in new BNZ Bank livery for the first time, qualified third.
Lobb then went on to win a highly entertaining first race, with many picking it as one of the best races ever seen in the category. Connor finished a close second, followed by Dodge, and current Series #2 Rowan Shepherd.
If race one was good, then the top ten reverse grid race two on a drying track was even better! Todd Prujean drove a spectacular race to get the win from grid six, but the battles that raged right through the field were just as spectacular. Considering the tricky conditions, the racing inside the top ten was fair, fast, and clean, highlighted by early race leader Christina Orr-West, who eventually finished second ahead of six-time NZ Midget Speedway Champion Michael Pickens, Australian rookie Peter Bennett, Joel Herbert, and Kieron Rollinson. Lobb and Connor both had issues however, finishing eighth and tenth respectively.
Lobb bounced back to win race three, ahead of Connor, and Jayden Dodge, and like race two, Christina Orr-West led early by a big margin, but got chased down by Lobb, Connor, and Dodge to eventually finish fourth after another fantastic race.
Jayden Dodge then scored a hard earned victory in the final race, setting the fastest lap for more important bonus points. It was another classic SsangYong Racing Series battle for the top spots, as Dodge was followed across the line by Connor, Prujean, Lobb, Orr-West, and Kieron Rollinson.
So after four exciting and ultra-competitive SsangYong Racing Series races at Taupo, Lobb won the round, ahead of Dodge, and Connor.
Next up for the SsangYong Racing Series is the second round at Pukekohe on November 6/7/8, featuring as a support class for the V8 Supercar Championship round, where a full field of thirty SsangYong Actyon Utes are expected.