Supervet Ken Smith (Lola T332) enjoyed the perfect start to the race meeting named in his honour at Hampton Downs today, claiming pole position and the fastest lap on the way to a runaway win in the first SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series race of the weekend at the annual NZ Festival of Motor Racing.
In the first series' race on the new 3.8km International circuit at the now Tony Quinn-owned Hampton Downs facility south of Auckland, category young gun Alan Dunkley (Lola T332) was quicker in both practise sessions on Friday and joined Smith on the front row of the grid.
In a bold move around the outside on the daunting downhill first turn and through the new section of the circuit Dunkley then edged ahead of the 75-year-old to lead the first two laps. Smith got back in front to lead the third lap, however, and Dunkley slowed then pulled off the track three laps later with engine issues.
With Dunkley out UK-based series returnee Mark Dwyer (Lola T332) inherited second after a race-long duel with high-profile local all-rounder Clark Proctor (March 73A/1).
Fellow Aucklander Grant Martin (Talon MR1A) started and finished fourth with Melbourne driver Paul Zazryn the first of the Australian competitors chasing Trans-Tasman Trophy points in fifth and working his way up from eighth place on the grid.
Sixth - after quickly shrugging off a three-place grid penalty for a spin in qualifying - was SAS Autoparts man David Banks (Talon MR1) with a gap back to Australian ace Bryan Sala (Matich A50/51) then a close following Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) and Glenn Richards (Lola T400).
Richards was the big mover in the mid-pack, worked his way up from 15th on the grid to ninth at the flag.
First of series newcomers from the UK was Brit Chris Atkinson (Surtees TS8) who finished 13th ahead of Australian driver Peter Brennan (Lola T330), and Aaron Burson's father Peter in his McRae GM1, with Ian Riley (Lola T332) 16th.
Action at the track and Ken Smith meeting continues tomorrow.
2016/17 SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series
1. Ken Smith (Lola T332) 1:29.015
2. Alan Dunkley (Lola T332) 1:30.075
3. Clark Proctor March 73A/1) 1:33.309
4. Grant Martin (Talon MR1A) 1:33.359
5. Mark Dwyer (Lola T332) 1:33.722
6. David Banks (Talon MR1) 1:33.824
7. Brett Willis (Lola T330) 1:34.068
8. Paul Zazryn (Lola T332) 1:34.264
9. Bryan Sala (Matich A50/51) 1:34.659
10. Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) 1:35.026
11. Peter Brennan (Lola T330) 1:35.427
12. Russell Greer (Lola T332) 1:36.913
13. Ian Clements (Lola T332) 1:37.399
14. Chris Atkinson (Surtees TS8) 1:39.073
15. Glenn Richards (Lola T400) 1:40.218
16. Ian Riley 1:40.465 (Lola T332)
17. Shayne Windelburn (Lola T400) 1:41.572
18. Bill Hemming (Elfin MR8) 1:44.027
19. Peter Burson (McRae GM1) 1:44.590
20. Frank Karl (McLaren M10B) 1:47.522
21. Karl Zohs (Chevron B32) 1:54.910
22. Mike Sidgewick (Trojan T101) 1:56.481
23. Gregory Thornton (Chevron B24) 0.000
Race 1 (8 laps) Saturday
1. Ken Smith 12:09:786
2. Mark Dwyer +16.214
3. Clark Proctor +16.721
4. Grant Martin +29.163
5. Paul Zazryn +31.289
6. David Banks +31.957
7. Bryan Sala +44.594
8. Aaron Burson +45.046
9. Glenn Richards +45.129
10. Ian Clements +45.995
11. Russell Greer +49.636
12. Shayne Windelburn +59.000
13. Chris Atkinson + 1.12.908
14. Peter Brennan +1.20.012
15. Peter Burson +1.24.963
16. Ian Riley 1.29.471
17. Bill Hemming +1 lap
18. Frank Karl +1 lap
19. Mike Sidgewick +1 lap
20. Karl Zohs +1 lap
dnf Brett Willis, Alan Dunkley.