After a rain-deluged season opener last November in Taupo, the NZV8 Utes will be hoping for sunnier skies as they head to Manfeild for the third round of the Super Sprint Motorsport NZ Championships, January 26-28th. The utes joined the Super V8s for the first time at Taupo and there were plenty of question marks hanging over the encounter.
As the Utes raced behind the TA2s and V8 Open categories which saw around 25 cars on track at once, anything could have happened. What unfolded, however, was some unexpectedly close – and virtually incident-free – racing, despite the wet and challenging conditions.
For this weekend’s event, last season’s champion Brad Kroef heads to Manfeild leading the championship, with his father Greg Kroef just a few points behind. Brad will have to watch his rearview mirror as Alex Fougere (top qualifier at Taupo and winner of Race Two) and of course, his father Greg (2nd in Round One) – will be just two of the drivers hunting him down.
Daniel Ludlam will be back after missing in action from Round One driving the Race Gear Rentals Holden. Phill Ross will be hoping for a better result after reliability issues plagued the C & R Construction Holden at Taupo. Despite coming 3rd in Race One and leading Race Two for several laps, an engine misfire hampered his progress. Expect to see a bigger showing from Phill running on all cylinders. Paul Fougere will also be hoping for another solid performance after pushing the Napa Auto Parts Holden to a podium finish last round.
Fortunately, the 3km Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon is one of the fastest motor racing circuits in the country offering numerous passing opportunities. Also unique are the circuit’s banked corners which will allow the big horsepower Super V8s to really spread their wings. Such a layout is a direct result Chris Amon’s input having raced in Formula 1 on Europe’s most historic tracks.
Another highlight of the weekend for the V8 Ute teams is the support of Yokohama. Each round, there’s a prize draw for one lucky driver to win a set of Yokohama Advan AO48 tyres – the official race tyre of the V8 Utes – courtesy of Radial Imports NZ General Manager Sam Robinson. That’s on top of the support Sam provides by putting on a BBQ for the teams on Friday and Sunday.
The action kicks off Friday, January 26th with two practice sessions for the V8 Utes. Qualifying is scheduled for Saturday morning with Race One in the afternoon. Then there’ll be two more races on the Sunday the 28th. Race fans who can’t make the journey to Feilding can watch the Sunday races live on Sky Sport.