Cooley accelerates into championship lead

| Photographer Credit: Matt Smith

Wellington driver Brock Cooley has accelerated into the lead of his class in the BNT NZ Touring Car Series after Round 4 of the series at Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna, Christchurch, at the weekend.

Cooley has had a superb season, taking his debut race win in the category at Taupo in October before adding two more race wins and a first ever round win at Hampton Downs the following month. He has also staged an absorbing battle with the defending champion, the experienced Kevin Williams of Manukau City, in Class 2 of the series. Cooley headed into the Christmas break close behind Williams in the point standings, however Williams has opted to miss the South Island rounds of the championship this season so Cooley arrived in Christchurch with the opportunity to seize the initiative.

Cooley qualified third fastest in the Speedy Signs Ford on his very first visit to the technical, 3.33 kilometre long circuit on Saturday morning and in the opening race on Saturday afternoon improved a position to take second place, and more importantly, the championship lead.

Weather conditions proved difficult throughout the weekend and in the second race of the round on Sunday morning Cooley finished fourth on a wet track in a car that was tuned the wrong way for the conditions and without the pace to pass the cars ahead. However he capped off a good weekend with a win in the final race later in the day after being turned around early on and then catching up thanks to a safety car period and some good car speed in the Speedy Signs Ford.

Those results meant Brock and Invercargill driver Liam MacDonald were tied on points for the round, the overall victory for the weekend going to MacDonald due to his slightly better qualifying position. However for Cooley second overall means an extended lead in the championship with 95 points in hand over Brad Lathrope of Auckland as the series heads to Teretonga Park in Invercargill next weekend. “We banked some valuable points for our championship campaign.” said Cooley as he summed up the weekend on Sunday evening. “With the difficult conditions we could have easily lost the lead. I’m really pleased with how it went!”

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