NZ SPORTS CAR SERIES, 2017/2018 - Round # 5

Round 5 Summer Series Taupo 24 & 25 March 2018

We felt the ravages of the previous meetings with a reduced entry of 10 cars. Nevertheless, and as it has often been the case this season, it was to be a meeting with the odd surprise.
David Glasson was on track for Friday practice with the Juno running faultlessly.
Anthony Barker also ran the Reynard to get some additional track time and sort out any niggling issues.
Nick Barker was running new front canards on the ARES and had installed brake cooling for the rear brake calipers.
Robert Hulme had replaced the upper front suspension links following the problems at Manfeild and was ready to have some fun.
It was a very pleasant surprise to see Mike Limbrick arrive with his Mallock for his first drive of the season.
Anton Aalders had been working late into the night for the last three weeks to make his car race ready and to repair the troublesome exhaust system after the fire he had at Manfeild.
Chris Prout had new drive shafts fitted so he could take advantage of his newly found power.
John Mines had his JRM ready for a good weekend’s racing.
Steve Sharp and Nick Rae looked set to take up their challenge again. Nick even had time to set up his gear position indicator on his dash.

Qualifying

Despite the forecast of rain, the track stayed dry, and David Glasson comfortably set the fastest time. Anthony Barker did an outstanding qualifying lap time and qualified next ahead of Robert Hulme.
Nick Barker also qualified well setting a new personal best time of 1m 31.4s.
There was then a small gap to John Mines and Nick Rae.
Chris Prout and Mike Limbrick posted similar times. However, Mike had warped discs causing him some concern, so he withdrew from the meeting. A little further back was Steve Sharp.

Race 1

As the cars drove out onto the dummy grid, there was a faint mist in the air. By the time the previous race finished the mist had turned to rain, and the cars were throwing up spray. The race officials allowed the cars to return to the pits and change to wet weather tyres.
It was evident that all the teams needed some practice in tyre changing as everyone except Robert worked feverishly to effect the change. Robert had more critical issues to address, on the dummy grid, the Nemesis started to smoke. Apparently, the cam cover was leaking oil into the spark plug recess.
Into the first corner of the race, it was clear that David was in trouble as Nick B. and Anthony lined up alongside him. Nick B. had had a great start to put himself between David and Anthony.
Nick B. took the opportunity to lead as David found himself unable to change gear. In an effort to stay ahead of Anthony, Nick ran wide on turn 7 and allowed Anthony and Nick Rae to slip through.
Nick Rae had made a blindingly fast start to pass John Mines between turn 1 and 2 to quickly find himself in second place. His cheer squad urged him on at every opportunity as he drove like the track was dry. Outstanding!! However, Nick B. deprived Nick Rae of a second place on the final lap as he passed him at the end of the main straight.
Robert had elected to start from the back of the grid and managed to finish 4th despite being on slick tyres.
John and Steve both drove an excellent race ensuring that they stayed on the track to finish a short distance apart.
Chris Prout was slowed by a spark plug problem to finish next.
Team Barker, along with the other club members, were delighted to see Anthony and Nick take out their first very much deserved 1-2 finish!

Race 2

The start order was the finishing order for the previous race. David started from the back of the grid, he drove hard, and by the end of the first lap, he was in the lead.
Once again, Nick B. lead Anthony for the first couple of laps until he ran wide at the end of the main straight, and in a repeat of the earlier race, let Anthony through.
John took the opportunity to pass Nick as he did his best to rejoin the track. Two laps later Nick re-passed John for third place.
Nick Rae had the legs on Steve Sharp. Chris Prout finished a short distance behind Steve despite having to contend with a door issue.
On the warm-up lap, Robert managed to machine his left front rim into two pieces forcing him to retire.

Race 3

In between races, Robert was unable to change tyres on rims, so he was forced to run with one wet tyre on the left front.
David was now back in his usual starting place and led the field from start to finish. Anthony made sure that he secured 2nd position and followed David home.
John Mines made an outstanding start and put a great move on Nick B. passing him into turn 3. Robert was quickly up into 5th place behind Nick. These three were to go on to have some of the best racing of the weekend.
Nick B. was unable to make a pass on John stick. John showed some true pace and put in a new personal best time of 1m 33.7s. Robert was not content to follow and passed both on lap 3. Nick then found a way past John and set about chasing down Robert. Robert provided the opportunity for Nick to pass when he reset his ECU. On the penultimate lap, the ARES selected two gears up at once which allowed Robert to regain his position.
Chris Prout was able to put in some good laps to be ahead of Nick Rae and Steve Sharp until he was forced to retire.

Summary

David had another successful weekend save for a gear selection problem in the first race. It was a pleasant change for team Barker to finish all of the races, let alone have a 1-2 finish.
Robert Hulme had a challenging weekend and showed a lot of grit and determination to keep himself in the running for the Prosport title.
Both John Mines and Nick Rae had outstanding drives. The next meeting should be interesting!
Chris Prout enjoyed a better run with his car and provided glimpses of its potential. Steve Sharp kept his Sports Car Cup chances alive with some consistent results.
A big thank you to the Taupo Car Club for running a great meeting.
Many thanks to Beulah, Denise, Olivia, and Mike Limbrick for their efforts with the barbecue despite the rain.

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