Round wins for both Fillmore and Gilchrist in GT NZ Champs

Sam Filmore has taken the round win in Open Class and Brock Gilchrist has taken honours in the GT4 Class at the opening round of the Summerset GT New Zealand Championship at Taupo today.

The open class round podium saw Rick Armstrong second, with young rookie Ayrton Hodson third. In GT4, Joel Giddy was second for the weekend, with newcomer Garth Piesse in third.

All three races held over the weekend, were raced in wet and often treacherous conditions, with almost no dry running on track.  

Sunday saw two thirty minute encounters take place, with Filmore winning the morning race, with Joel Giddy winning in GT4.

An early safety car was called, after a collision between the Ginetta GT4 of Steve Scoles, and the BMW GT4 of Garth Piesse. A brake failure on the Ginetta caused him to make contact with the BMW. While, the BMW was able to return to the track and to the pits to make repairs and re-join the race, the Ginetta was stranded and towed to the infield.

GT NZ Open podium (left-right) Rick Armstrong, Sam Filmore, Ayrton Hodson third.

At the front of the field, Armstrong lead the restart, with Sam Filmore making a move into turn one to take the lead. Armstrong battled with the chasing pack, before being hit by yesterday’s race winner, Ayrton Hodson, which sent him onto the grass at turn four.

Filmore went on to win, with Luke Manson second, and teenager Reagan Scoullar third.

In GT4, Giddy was chased to the line by the McLaren of Gilchrist, with the Ginetta of Allan Sargeant getting a well-deserved third placing.

The last race of the afternoon, saw Rick Armstrong clinch a long awaited first win in the championship, with Brock Gilchrist winning in GT4.

There was plenty of action even before the race started.

The Ginetta of Steve Scoles withdrawing having not solved the brake issue. The Ford Mustang of Paul Pedersen also not making race with the car also having an unresolved issue.

Rob Steele elected to handover driving to team-mate Paul Southam. Steele reporting delayed concussion symptoms after a relatively heavy crash in practice on Friday.   

GT NZ GT4 podium (left-right) Joel Giddy , Brock Gilchrist, Garth Piesse

Off the start of the race, with Manson on pole, Ayrton Hodson managed to get into the lead. However, he was deemed by officials to have jumped the start, and was given a drive through penalty, essentially ruining any chance of a good result for the youngster.

The race was largely uneventful, until front runner Luke Manson went off track at the end of the front straight, making light contact with the tyre barrier. Though, able to re-join, a safety car was called with around 10 minutes to go.

With the safety car called in, Armstrong held onto the lead, while Filmore and Southam battled for second and third behind. With 30 minutes up on the clock, Armstrong crossed the line to secure his first win, Filmore second and super sub Southam in third.    

In GT4, Gilchrist held on for a second win of the weekend, with Giddy in second. Garth Piesse in his BMW GT4, securing a podium on debut.

The next round of the Summerset GT New Zealand Championship will be at Manfeild, January 26-28.

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