Jason Bargwanna has taken first blood in the opening race of the BNT V8s at Pukekohe today.
The 16-lap race got underway in atrocious conditions with all drivers seemingly struggling to keep their cars on track.
Bargwanna started in second place on the grid alongside Toyota teammate Andre Heimgartner who had taken pole position in qualifying yesterday.
Off the start Heimgartner immediately starting losing ground and quickly slipped through the order before pitting and rejoining two laps down.
“I couldn’t see a thing!” Said Heimgartner post race.
“The wipers didn’t work and it was fogging up pretty bad, I had to come in.”
Bargwanna also had difficulty in the race, going wide through the esses, rejoining in third, allowing Lance Hughes to take the lead.
“I’ve been doing this a long time, but those would have to be the worst conditions I’ve ever experienced. Especially that back straight, it was horrendous,” said Bargwanna.
“I was bit of a pioneer there through the esses and I just went wide, the frustrating thing was I wasn’t even trying, it was just so wet.”
Bargwanna managed to climb his way back up the field and reclaimed the lead with a handful of laps to go, with a fierce battle behind him between the Holden of Lance Hughes and the Nissan of Nick Ross. Hughes managed to hold on for a much-deserved second place while Ross took the last step of the podium.
Grabbing his first win of the season in the opening race, Bargwanna is quietly confident about the season ahead.
“Last season we finished on bit of a high with good results for the last four rounds and our plan in the off season was to keep that momentum rolling.”
“Having Andre in the team is great, he’s quite experienced and I think we’ll push each other. It’s about winning that championship this season.”
Class two was won by Liam MacDonald, who continued his dominating form from last season where he won his inaugural title.
“There was no grip at all out there. There was standing water all over the track,” said MacDonald.
“I was wheel spinning in fourth gear down the back straight, there was so much surface water, it almost seemed different every lap.”
“The rain would ease, and some of the puddles would disappear, then a few laps later they would be back again. They were really challenging conditions.”
The class two podium was rounded out by Rob Wallace followed by Chelsea Herbert.
The Class three invitational was taken out by the BMW of Andrew Nugent, followed by Matt Griffin also in a BMW and Nigel Karl in a Ford Falcon.
The BNT V8s have two more races tomorrow at Pukekohe.
For further information:
NZ Touring Cars Category Manager
Ph 027 452 2991