Nick Ross and Concept Motorsport were forced into adopting damage control at the fifth round of the NZ Touring Cars at the weekend when he was unable to complete the qualification session and opening race in the TOTAL Lubricants Nissan Altima.
An engine failure as Ross attempted to leave the pits for the start of qualification on Saturday morning at Invercargill’s Teretonga Park prevented the Cambridge driver from participating in the session after a promising testing run beforehand.
The failure could have had disastrous consequences for Nick Ross and the Concept Motorsport team’s campaign in the NZ Touring Cars first season while at the world’s most southern racing circuit 1,497.7 kilometres away from the team’s home base.
However with a dedicated response to the problem the talented crew transplanted the spare engine into the race car enabling Ross to get back into the competition on Sunday to come away from the weekend with some valuable points with which to hold his current ranking in the championship.
Moving up through the field in Sunday morning’s race Ross was able to finish in a respectable sixth place while securing himself a front row start for the third and final race of the weekend.
Running in second throughout the first leg of the extended race which included a compulsory pit stop and wheel change, Ross and the TOTAL Lubricants Nissan Altima were looking very strong for a podium finish.
“We had a great start to the final race where I was running in second place holding on to Foggy and the car was looking quick but when we pitted the clutch was sticking so I had to stall the car before the crew were able to complete the compulsory wheel change.” said Ross.
Teams are not allowed to work on a car if the wheels are still spinning while on it’s compressed air pit-lift system.
Despite the set back Ross was able to finish the race in seventh place adding points to his sixth place finish that morning.
Ross had hoped to move into the top five in the championship table while in the South Island leg of the NZ Touring Cars Championship whereas he has improved his placing from eighth to seventh despite the set back of missing an entire race.
With two rounds remaining in the season and the ever improving speed of the Altima, Nick Ross who was the 2013-14 NZV8 Touring Cars Champion will be pushing hard in order to finish the inaugural season of the NZ Touring Cars within the top five as envisaged.
Next round is at Manfeild Autocourse over the weekend of February 13-14 followed by the final at Pukekohe Park Raceway April 16-17.
As part of their South Island tour the Concept Motorsport team travelled back to Christchurch and the Mike Pero Motorsport Park after leaving Invercargill in order to bring some fun and excitement to the local team of long term sponsors TOTAL Lubricants with hot laps.
“We had a very good day at Ruapuna where we put on some fun for the Christchurch crew taking them around Ruapuna for some hotlaps in the TOTAL Lubricants Nissan Altima.” said Ross.