KIWI driver Liam Lawson won the Spirit Of A Nation Cup and Cole Armstrong took the honours in the opening round of the Valvoline D1NZ Drift Championship, in a big weekend of motorsport at Teretonga Park in Invercargill.
The action was part of the Speedworks Events BP Ultimate Motorsport Championship at the circuit last weekend.
Lawson had to work hard to maintain his Castrol Toyota Racing Series lead during the weekend after the opening qualifying was cut short due to several incidents.
He was left 13th on the grid and drove through to sixth place in the opening race on Saturday afternoon, a race won by Brazilian driver Caio Collet from Swiss driver Gregoire Saucy with pole position man Igor Fraga of Brazil third.
The second race of the round on Sunday morning saw a top-eight reverse grid and, from pole position, French karting star Emilien Denner led all the way to win in just his fifth race start in a car. He was followed home by German Lirim Zendeli with Lawson third.
Australian Jackson Walls caused a surprise by qualifying on pole for the Spirit Of A Nation feature race ahead of Lawson but at the start Lawson took a lead he was never going to lose. Igor Fraga kept him honest throughout with Lawson’s Red Bull Junior team-mate Yuki Tsunoda, of Japan, third.
Chelsea Herbert, who crashed in Saturday morning’s qualifying, injured her back and has been forced to withdraw from the series.
The crowd loved the Valvoline D1NZ Drift Championship action and the D1NZ competitors loved Teretonga Park in their first visit in its 17-year history.
After qualifying on Friday, the competition was held on Saturday evening and a good crowd saw Cole Armstrong take victory after a hard-fought final against Dave Steedman. Rookie Taylor James, in his first round in the Pro Championship class, won the third versus fourth run-off over Adam Davies to take the final podium spot.
Australian driver Jaylyn Robotham was the round winner in the Best Bars Toyota 86 Series, winning two of the three races from Peter Vodanovich, of Auckland, and Campbell Stewart, with Vodanovich taking the other from Robotham and Jayden Ransley.
Pukekohe driver Billy Frazer had a successful weekend, winning all three South Island F1600 races from Jack Noble-Adams on each occasion. He also won two of the three ITM New Zealand Formula Ford races with Cantabrian James Penrose taking the other.
Auckland driver Callum Hedge took the first two South Island Porsche races from Hayden Knighton, of Christchurch, before Knighton won the third. Rory Callaway (Porsche GT4 Clubsport) won the Speedworks Rush Hour race on Sunday morning, with the race ending under the safety car. Knighton was second one lap down in his Porsche 997 Cup car and Martin Dippie third.
The next motor race meeting at Teretonga Park will be the George Begg Classic SpeedFest scheduled for February 14-16.
- Lindsay Beer, Southland Sports Car Club publicity officer
Images from Teretonga. Photos: Ron Veint