Greg Murphy lived up to his new number as he decisively won the first race of the 2014 BNT V8 SuperTourers championship at Highlands Motorsport Park today.
Known for using the number 51 for many years, Murphy turned up for the Fuchs 250 meeting – opening round of the Hankook Super Series – with the number one on his Holden Commodore, having won the right to that number by winning the championship last year.
“I had a bit of an argument with myself about the number but I decided to make the most of it and use the number one,” Murphy, who is now back living in Hawke’s Bay, said. “It’s been a while since I had a number one.”
Murphy had qualified on pole at the new Central Otago circuit and led all the way, with young Aucklander Andre Heimgartner’s Holden the only car in his mirrors for most of the distance.
“I seemed to have his measure,” Murphy said. “He was fast in some places but I could pull away when I needed to.”
Heimgartner was happy to finish second behind the champion.
“I couldn’t get too close to Murph and anyway it’s hard to pass round here,” he said. “We just wanted to get some good points and not do anything too drastic.”
Angus Fogg suffered a spectacular crash at the end of lap one, which brought out the safety car and left his Commodore looking a real mess.
Fellow Aucklander Mitch Cunningham had an all too close view of the accident.
“Angus hit the wall and bounced back,” he said. “I saw it coming and moved as far to the right as I could, but I couldn’t avoid hitting him.”
Cunningham’s Ford Falcon was also out of the race, but he expects it to be ready to run again tomorrow.
Hamilton’s Ant Pedersen, second in the championship last year, ran his Falcon third all the way though under pressure from Aucklander Simon Evans for some laps – till Evans’s engine failed.
“I’d just got in behind Ant and thought I had the edge on him,” Evans lamented. “But we’ve got a spare engine so we’ll be back tomorrow.”
Murphy’s young team-mate Richard Moore took fourth ahead of a new team-mate, Australian Morgan Haber.
Haber, 20 years old and from Mackay in Queensland, is driving Paul Manuell’s Commodore this year and was pleased with his result. “I’m still learning the car, and the track,” he said.
Sixth was Aucklander Mark Gibson, also driving someone else’s car – he has taken over John McIntyre’s Falcon for the season.
The BNT V8 SuperTourers have two more races tomorrow.
For further information please call Bernard Carpinter 0274-528-744 or Mike Marsden 021-560-075.