12/11/2017

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Fast Company/Simone Viljoen

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Sunday race winner Andy Higgins (Lola T332) leads off the rolling start

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Series returnee Andy Higgins (Lola T332) made it two wins out of three with an impressive lights-to-flag leading run in the final 10-lap feature race at the second round of this season’s SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series at Feilding’s Circuit Chris Amon Manfeild today.

The 2013/14 series title-holder was back to his dynamic best at the 32nd annual MG Classic meeting at the Manawatu circuit, putting his Stu Lush-owned Lola T332 on pole on Saturday morning before finishing second to impressive series newcomer Michael Collins driving the Alistair Hey-owned McRae GM1 in the first race of the weekend on Saturday then winning both races today.

“That’s better,” the second-generation racer from Auckland said after his impressive feature race win this afternoon. “We’ve been working away on the car since Pukekohe and now I feel I’ve got a car that I can race.”

Proof was in his fastest lap in the final, at 1.02.70, even quicker than his pole time on Saturday (a 1:03.33).

The time was set in what ended up a race of two halves, after the Safety Car was dispatched on the third lap so that Grant Martin’s Talon MR1A could be retrieved from the gravel trap at the end of the start/finish straight.

When he went off Martin was in a meeting high second place after splitting pole man Andy Higgins and fellow front row starter Michael Collins.

After impressing everyone with his quick, clean racing on series debut at the opening series round at Pukekohe last weekend, 21-year-old Christchurch ace Collins put in another faultless performance this weekend, and was able to claim his first category win on Saturday when leader Higgins was slowed by a gear selection issue on the second to last lap.

Third in the feature final on Sunday was 2016/17 series champion Brett Willis (Lola T330),  a strong fourth SAS Autoparts man David Banks in his new Lola T332, and fifth fellow Aucklander Glenn Richards (Lola T400).

Richards put in the drive of the race in his Lola T400, after spinning out of 6th place then working his way back up through the field from P11 to cross the line in fifth.

Also impressing was local driver Tim Rush in his return to the series - after three years – in the Rush family’s McLaren M22.

“I couldn’t be happier,” he said afterwards. “From lapping in the 1.09s on Saturday to doing 1.06s in the race today….. it’s been a dream come true.”

Dave Arrowsmith from Christchurch claimed Class A (for earlier model cars) honours again in his unique Ford-powered Lotus 70, crossing the line in seventh place despite losing third gear early on.

Earlier in the day, Michael Collins led the second SAS MSC series race of the weekend from pole before Andy Higgins got a run on him down the infield straight then got past under brakes into and accelerating out of the heavily-banked Higgins corner onto the back straight.

Having sorted the gear selection issue which had slowed him in Saturday’s race, Higgins edged away from Collins early on before the latter set the fastest race lap as he closed the gap back down to the point where it was just 0.40 of a second at the flag.

Class A standout Dave Arrowsmith got another great start, and ran as high as fifth before being caught and shuffled back down the order by the later model Lolas of David Banks and Glenn Richards. Russell Greer ran strongly early on before being slowed then eventually pulling into the pits with a clutch issue.

The big mover in the morning race was local driver Tim Rush who worked his way up through the field from 11th to 8th at the flag.

Higgins also led the Lion’s share of laps in the Saturday race, until a gear selection issue slowed him and allowed Michael Collins to pass for the lead.

As he did in Sunday’s first race Grant Martin started and finished third, while defending series title-holder Brett Willis worked his way forward after qualifying sixth quickest to finish fourth.

Glenn Richards (Lola T400) shared the second row of the grid with Martin, but spun in the opening stages of the race and spent the remaining laps working his way back to 10th place.

The 2017/18 SAS Autoparts MSC NZ  F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series is organised and run with the support of sponsors SAS Autoparts, MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney's Specialised Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Pacifica, Avon Tyres, Webdesign and Exide Batteries.

2017/18 SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series Rnd 2 MG Classic meeting Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon Feilding Fri-Sun Nov 10-12
RESULTS

Race 1 (Sat) 8 laps
Michael Collins 8.38.99
Andrew Higgins +5.41
Grant Martin +8.44
Brett Willis +8.80
Dave Arrowsmith +19.70
Russell Greer +20.16
Shayne Windelburn +29.47
David Banks +31.49
Tim Rush +31.84
Glenn Richards +32.27
Aaron Burson +46.32
Tony Roberts +52.42
Karl Zohs +2 laps

Race 2 (Sun) 8 laps
1. Andrew Higgins 8:35.21
2. Michael Collins +0.40
3. Grant Martin +8.36
4. Brett Willis +8.66
5. David Banks +23.95
6. Glenn Richards +24.40
7. Dave Arrowsmith +26.20
8. Tim Rush +39.48
9. Shayne Windelburn +54.87
10. Peter Burson +56.65
11. Tony Roberts +4 laps
dnf Russell Greer (clutch) Karl Zohs (battery)

Race 3 (Sun) 10 laps
1. Andew Higgins 12:48.03
2. Michaal Collins +1.86
3. Brett Willis +7.61
4. David Banks +15.15
5. Glenn Richards +19.39
6. Tim Rush +23.45
7. Dave Arrowsmith +25.87
8. Aaron Burson +27.14
9. Tony Roberts +35.80
10. Karl Zohs + 1 lap
dnf Shayne Windleburn, Grant Martin. dns Russell Greer.


11-11-17

FIRST F5000 CLASS WIN FOR COLLINS

Category newcomer Michael Collins (McRae GM1) claimed his first SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series win at the second round of the 2017/18 season at Manfeild today.

After joining former series’ champ Andy Higgins (Lola T332) on the front row of the grid for the first SAS Autoparts MSC race at the 32nd annual MG Classic motor racing meeting at the Manawatu circuit this afternoon, Collins, 21, spent the first six laps in second place before passing Higgins on the seventh (of eight) and going on to cross the line just over five seconds in front.

Aucklander Grant Martin (Talon MR1A) started and finished the race third, while defending series title-holder Brett Willis worked his way forward after qualifying sixth quickest to finish fourth.

Glenn Richards (Lola T400) shared the second row of the grid with Martin, but spun in the opening stages of the race and spent the remaining laps working his way back to 10th place.

Making  a big impression in one of the older (Class A) cars in the field, meanwhile, was David Arrowsmith from Christchurch. He had his rare, Ford-powered, Lotus 70B absolutely humming, qualifying and finishing fifth overall.

Sixth, in his first race of the 2017/18 season was Russell Greer from Blenheim in his ex-Graeme Lawrence Lola T332, seventh, in his return to the category, SAS Autoparts MSC series original Shayne Windelburn (Lola T400) from Auckland.

David Banks was eighth in his new ex Johnny Walker Lola T332, and local ace Tim Rush was an excellent ninth in his return to the series in the Rush family-owned McLaren M22. Glenn Richards crossed the line a hard-won tenth with Aaron Burson (driving his father’s McRae GM1 after he holed a piston in his own Talon MR1A in practice on Friday) eleventh, Tony Roberts driving the high-wing McLaren M10A-9 12th, and Rotorua man Karl Zohs 13th in his Chevron B32.

Racing was held in cool, dry conditions today with more of the same expected for the two more SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series races at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon tomorrow.

The 2017/18 SAS Autoparts MSC NZ  F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series is organised and run with the support of sponsors SAS Autoparts, MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney's Specialised Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Pacifica, Avon Tyres, Webdesign and Exide Batteries.

For more information about the 2017/2018 SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series contact Ross MacKay on 021 677 919 or via e-mail on ross@fastcompany.co.nz

You can follow the 2017/18 series on Facebook at F5000 New Zealand or on the NZ F5000 Association's website www.F5000.co.nz