Three-time series champion Steve Ross (McRae GM1) emerged the winner of the first SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series race at the third round of the 2019/20 series at Christchurch’s Mike Pero Motorsport Park this afternoon.
Though he was competing in his first round of the popular New Zealand-based historic stock-block V8 wings-and-slicks single seater category race in almost a year, the Dunedin ace looked like he had never been away.
While 23-year-old local driver Michael Collins (McRae GM1) was quicker by over a half a second in qualifying in the morning, Ross got the better of the rolling start and frantic first lap to grab a lead which he then stoutly defended until the chequered flag came out.
Both Michael Collins, who won all three races at the opening series round at Circuit Chris Amon Manfeild in November last year, and visiting UK driver Michal Lyons (Lola T400) who did the same at the second round at Taupo’s Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park late last month, got close; but neither could find a way past the determined Ross.
“I was just sitting there thinking, keep it straight, don’t do anything silly,” said a relieved Ross afterwards,
Behind Ross, Collins – who had the consolation of setting the fastest race lap – and Lyons came Aucklander Grant Martin (Talon MR1A) then the Lola T332s of Kevin Ingram, Brett Willis and Australian driver Paul Zazryn.
Both LeRoy Stevenson (driving fellow Queenstown resident Alistair Hay’s ex Graham McRae’s Leda LT27) and expat Kiwi Warren Briggs (Stu Lush Lola T332) qualified higher (Stevenson third and Briggs sixth) but both spun and though each was able to continue it was further down the field.
McLaren M10B driver Frank Karl, meanwhile, was unchallenged on his way to 15th place and first Class A (for earlier model cars) entrant home after usual rival Tony Roberts was a late scratching thanks to an engine mount issue discovered after this morning’s qualifying session.
The SAS Autoparts MSC F5000s will be on track again tomorrow (Sunday Feb 02) for two more races – a second 8-lappper in the morning and a final 12-lap feature in the afternoon.
1. Michael Collins (McRae GM1) 1:18.533
2. Steve Ross (McRae GM1) 1:19.151
3. LeRoy Stevenson (Leda LT27) 1:19.383
4. Michael Lyons (Lola T400) 1:19.632
5. Grant Martin (Talon MR1A) 1:21.130
6. Warren Briggs (Lola T332) 1:22.455
7. Kevin Ingram (Lola T332) 1:22.523
8. Paul Zazryn (Lola T332) 1:22.786
9. Codie Banks (Lola T332) 1:22.831
10. Brett Willis (Lola T332) 1:22.937
11. Glenn Richards (Lola T400) 1:22.995
12. Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) 1:23.064
13. Shayne Windelburn (Lola T400) 1:28.257
14. Mark Dwyer (Lola T400) 1:28.938
15. Tony Roberts (McLaren M10A) 1:29.763
16. Tim Rush (McLaren M22) 1:30.508
17. Frank Lyons (Lola T332) 1:31.989
18. Frank Karl (McLaren M10B) 1:32.047
19. Judith Lyons (Begg FM5) 2:05.824
Race 1 8 laps
Steve Ross (McRae GM1) 10:5.926
Michael Collins (McRae GM1) +0.138
Michael Lyons (Lola T400) +0.871
Grant Martin (Talon MR1A) +12.922
Kevin Ingram (Lola T332) +27.185
Brett Willis (Lola T332) +27.925
Paul Zazryn (Lola T332) +30.690
Glenn Richards (Lola T400) +31.283
Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) +35.015
10.LeRoy Stevenson (Leda LT27) +41.348
11. Codie Banks (Lola T332) +49.692
12.Warren Briggs (Lola T332) +1.03.115
13. Shayne Windelburn (Lola T400) +1.04.706
14. Frank Lyons (Lola T332) + 1 lap
15. Frank Karl (McLaren M10B) +1 lap
16. Judy Lyons (Begg FM5) + 2 laps
DNF: Tim Rush
DNS Mark Dwyer, Tony Roberts.