Teretonga - January 2013
2013 Premier Race Championship Series - Round 1 - Teretonga Park - 11th-12th-13th January 2013

The big crowds that flocked to Teretonga Park this weekend were treated to a great programme of racing at the opening round of the premier summer motor race series.

The Spirit Of A Nation Cup will reside in Puerto Rico for a year after Felix Serralles won the trophy in todays feature race for the Toyota Racing Series. Serralles held the lead throughout an action packed race, the key incident coming when he and UK driver Alex Lynn tangled in the loop at a restart after a safety car period. The incident resulted in a race stoppage after Lynn's car flew high in the air although the young driver emerged unhurt. After the resumption of the race Serralles continued on to win from Austrian Lucas Auer who seized second place from Dutch driver Steijn Schothorst late in the race.

Auer had taken an impressive victory in the opening race on Saturday from defending champion Nick Cassidy of New Zealand and Lynn. Auer set a new lap record on his way to victory.

In the other race on Sunday morning Brazilian Pipo Derani had pole on a marble draw grid for the top runners. He made the most of it to win from Serralles and fellow Brazilian Bruno Bonifacio. Later Bonifiacio incurred a penalty dropping him to seventh and promoting Lynn to third.

Serralles leads the series from Auer after the opening round. Southland star Damon Leitch had a tough weekend in his Post Haste Couriers Toyota, not getting a good run in qualifying. Such is the closeness of the field he then spent the remainder of the weekend battling back up the order. He was well placed in the Spirit Of A Nation Cup race only to be run off the track when Auer tried a pass. He leaves his home round eighth in the championship.

Toyota made an impressive debut into the NZV8s category with a first up win in the opening race of the championship on Saturday afternoon. Martin Short of Hamilton took pole position in the Camry and followed up with a debut win. The race was the first championship appearance for not only the Camry but also the other new generation NZV8s and following Short home was Nick Ross in one of the new Holden Commodores. Third was the first of the older model cars, the Falcon of AJ Lauder of Turua, the current Suzuki Swift Sport Cup Champion. After struggling with suspected alternator problems in his Commodore on Saturday Australian V8 Supercar star Jason Bargwanna bounced back to win both of Sundays races and take the round win. On Sunday morning he built a lead while Short took time to get past Ross and in the final, reverse grid race with a compulsory pit stop, he also triumphed from Short.and AJ Lauder.

Bargwanna leads the championship by one point from Short.

AJ Lauder took class honours for the older cars from Shaun Varney of Auckland with Grant Molloy of Invercargill third. Molloy only agreed to drive the ex-Nick Ross Commodore on Friday night and did a fine job across the three races carding two thirds and a fourth in the class.

Young 15-year-old Southlander, Liam MacDonald, also acquitted himself exceptionally well in his NZV8s debut - fifth in his class on each occasion.

The Mobil Delvac 1 Super Trucks were a hit with the crowd and battled it out in two races each day. On Saturday Troy Wheeler of Papakura in the ex-Denny Hulme Scania won from current New Zealand and Trans-Tasman Champion, Australian Steven Zammit in his Kenworth T401, and John Hepburn of Timaru in a Kenworth W900. The second race, a reverse grid event, went to Zammit from Brent Jones of Ashburton in his Bedford and Lower Hutt driver Shane Gray.

Another reverse grid on Sunday saw Jones get a good lead before Zammit and Wheeler came through to lead him home.

The final race was a non-championship affair. Hepburn took the race from Jones and Wheeler. Ken Rowe of Hamilton had an unhappy weekend after he broke a crank and missed Saturdays races. A borrowed engine had him on track on Sunday although he retired from the first race before completing the finale.

The Formula Ford races were typically exciting. The wins were shared by Invercargill driver Brendon Leitch in his EH Ball/ITM Stealth, Michael Collins of Mount Pleasant and 15-year-old rookie James Munro of Christchurch. Leitch and Collins left Teretonga tied in the championship lead with Munro close behind.

Invercargill driver Colin Dawson took his V8 powered Mazda RX7 to a win in the first race in the Sports GT category from Christchurch driver Russell Mortimer in a Nissan 180SX and Timaru driver Neville Stowell in a Subaru WRX. In Sunday mornings reverse grid race Dawson was quickly into lead from Mortimer but stopped with a coil problem on the final lap handing the win to Mortimer. Stowell came through to second ahead of Gary Duncan of Temuka in an EVO.

Neither Dawson nor Mortimer finished the final race leaving victory for Inky Tulloch in his Honda Integra ahead of Geoff Gray of Temuka in an EVO 5 and Stowell. Stowell claimed the round from Tulloch and Duncan.

Darryn Andrews of Lincoln took a comfortable win in his Nissan Primera turbo in the Production GT class on Saturday with Grant Aitken of Queenstown in a Mitsubishi EVO and Tony Forde of Invercargill in a Holden Commodore second and third respectively. In Sunday mornings reverse grid event Matt Edgar of Lake Hawea took the win from Aitken and Andrews and Edgar did it again in the finale, a handicap race, winning right on the line from Hamish Ellingham of Napier and Alvin Frew of Waikouaiti.

Aitken won the round overall from Ellingham and Edgar.
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