Smith takes Pole but Saturday NZ F5000 Race Cancelled
Sweltering hot temperatures have forced an early end to the first day of competition at the Speedworks/HRC NZ Motor Cup meeting at Hampton Downs today, with the first SAS Autoparts MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series race of the weekend rescheduled for first thing on Sunday morning.
The schedule was called after the first TRS, Honda Cup and Historic Formula Ford races as the surface of the Hampton Downs circuit started breaking up in the 30 degrees C+ temperatures.
Asphalt contractors will work overnight to repair the sections of track – the braking and apex areas of the two infield hairpins – worst affected.
Earlier in the day series super-veteran Ken Smith (Lola T332) lapped under Michael Lyons’ outright national circuit lap record (59.483) to claim pole position for the first race with a time of 59.424.
In doing so he was the only driver in the SAS Autoparts MSC category to crack the minute mark around the 2.800km circuit and the lap was almost a second (0.988) quicker than that of fellow front row starter Michael Collins (McRae GM1) who clocked a best time of 1.00.412, and just over a second (1.228) faster than third placed Andy Higgins (Lola T332).
Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) continued his strong run from the Taupo round last weekend to set the fourth quickest time, while former series title holder Ian Clements from Christchurch (Lola T332) enjoyed an impressive return with the fifth quickest qualifying lap.
After engine issues saw him park his unique 3.4-litre Ford-engined March 75 at Taupo last weekend, Greg Thornton pressed his other F5000 car, the ex Peter Gethin, Race of Champions-winning Chevron B32 back into service to qualify seventh.
Dave Arrowsmith was again the quickest of the Class A (for earlier category cars) runners with the eighth quickest time.
Missing from the session, meanwhile, was category newcomer Mike Creswell from Tauranga. He blew the gearbox in his recently acquired ex Clark Proctor March 73A-1 apart in the final practise session on Friday and looks set to miss the rest of the meeting.
In a race against time, meanwhile, Auckland driver Grant Martin missed qualifying while he dynoed up a new engine to replace the one that lost oil pressure during the Taupo Historic Grand Prix race at the Taupo round of the SAS Autoparts MSC Series last weekend, but arrived just in time to find out that the first race had been postponed!
2017/18 SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series
Ken Smith (Lola T332) 00:59.424
Michael Collins (McRae GM1) 01:00.412
Andrew Higgins (Lola T332) 01:01.640
Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) 01:02.215
Ian Clements (Lola T332) 01:02.765
Brett Willis (Lola T330) 01:02.838
Gregory Thornton (Chevron B32) 01:03.766
Dave Arrowsmith (Lotus 70) 01:04.139
Glenn Richards (Lola T400) 01:04.199
David Banks (Lola T332) 01:04.437
Tony Galbraith (Lola T332) 01:04.510
Shayne Windelburn (Lola T400) 01:05.854
Tim Rush (McLaren M22) 01:06.979
Tony Roberts (McLaren M10A) 01:07.121
Peter Burson (McRae GM1) 01:07.825
Frank Karl (McLaren M10B) 01:10.364
Kerry McIntosh (Begg FM2) 01:12.911