Angus Fogg recovered from a huge crash to claim the first round of New Zealand’s premier motor racing championship, the BNT New Zealand V8s
The Aucklander led the second V8 race at Pukekohe’s Fujitsu 200 meeting till three-quarter distance – when his Ford Falcon ploughed ahead at the left-hand corner before the hill, bounced off the wall, shot across the track and hit the other wall very hard.
Other cars followed suit on the wet, slippery track and at least six were damaged, some severely.
“I’m going to be pretty sore tomorrow,” Fogg said.
“The previous lap it was fine but this time it was much more slippery. The car understeered [ploughed ahead] big-time and ricocheted off the wall.”
Fogg and other leading drivers including Australian V8 Supercar racer Jason Bargwanna said officials should have stopped the race as the rain intensified and the track became more slippery. Most cars were on slick tyres, unsuitable in the wet.
“That was ridiculous, it was out of control,” Bargwanna said.” I was telling my guys on the radio that the race should be stopped.”
Bargwanna had hit the wall lightly but then his Falcon was smashed by the spinning Commodore of Michael Bristow.
Race-one winner Tim Edgell survived this corner but – even though he had backed off – slammed his Fordinto the wall cover the hill.
Victory in this race went to local man Paul Manuell, who showed canny weather-forecasting ability when he cut short his warm-up lap to dive into the pits and change his Holden Commodore to wet-weather tyres.
“We don’t grow potatoes in Pukekohe for nothing – it’s always going to rain,” he said. “I preferred to take the safety angle.”
Manuell started after the main pack but gained ground as the initially damp track became quite wet, dodged the carnage as the other cars crashed, and took the chequered flag just before the race was stopped.
Under the rules, the rest of the results were taken from the end of the previous lap so Fogg was credited with second, Bargwanna with third and Edgell with fourth even though they had not finished.
Mechanics worked flat-out and only two cars failed to start the final heat, which included a compulsory pit stop to change a wheel.
Fogg led early but Bargwanna sneaked inside him at the Railway corner and carried on to victory in very wet conditions.
“They [the crew] told me just to drive it safe but I thought bugger it, I can see the lead, I’m going for it!” the Australian said.
Fogg’s three second placings gave him the overall round victory, ahead of Manuell, Bargwanna and Simon Richards. Edgell crashed twice in the final race and did not finish, a real disappointment after his commanding victory in the dry race one.