Daniel Gaunt won the 2007 NZ Grand Prix at Teretonga this afternoon in emphatic style, grabbing the lead at the start and driving away from his opposition.
March 11, 2007, 5.50pm. Aucklander Daniel Gaunt was lost for words after winning this afternoon’s New Zealand Grand Prix at Teretonga Park, near Invercargill.
Gaunt (22) said, “I’m speechless, I’m struggling to speak,” moments after stepping out of his Tatuus-Toyota after absolutely dominating the Grand Prix.
“It’s a great feeling,” he said of the win. “It’s unreal…really.”
Gaunt’s win added the GP trophy to the Spirit of the Nation Cup he took after winning Saturday’s TRS race.
Earlier in the season, he had won Manfeild’s most prestigious hardware, the Dan Higgins Trophy, and NZ motor racing’s historic Lady Wigram Trophy, at Ruapuna.
The NZ GP win clinched Gaunt’s second successive TRS championship, and gave him the Teretonga round victory.
The only glitch in his weekend came in this morning’s second heat where Ben Harford outdragged him to Turn 1 and went on to win.
Second in the GP was series returnee Mathew Hamilton in a one-off drive.
He had shadowed Gaunt and Harford in the opening laps, and closed a little on Gaunt in the dying stages as the champion eased his pace.
Daynom Templeman finished a very distant third, ahead of Dominic Storey and Nic Jordan. Christina Orr completed the top six.
Several favoured runners struck problems.
Harford had been running a steady second, keeping Hamilton at bay, when the gear stick broke off as he changed gear for the Elbow corner.
Andy Knight was running fourth till he was black-flagged to pit and repair a damaged front aerodynamic wing on lap nine.
He pitted for the repairs and resumed the race, turning in a superb drive in which he passed car after car as he strove to unlap himself. He finished 13th, a lap down.
Knight’s drive was a highlight of a largely processional race in which little happened, aside from Gaunt stamping his authority on top-level NZ single seater racing.
He won the start and within a couple of laps had opened a small gap on Harford who was busy keeping Hamilton at bay.
As the laps passed, Gaunt inexorably opened a massive lead, and never even looked like being threatened.
Slowing, he finished 4.8 seconds ahead of Hamilton. Third-placed Templeman was 28 seconds behind the winner.
To add further icing to his cake, Gaunt set the race’s fastest lap, at 55.274 seconds.
Among other drivers who struck trouble, Ken Smith pitted early after running eighth. He resumed only to slow once again and park the Exide car.
Australian David Besnard, doing double duty in the TRS and NZ V8s this weekend, also was in and out of pits and finished eight laps down.
– Mike Stock at Teretonga.
Photo caption: Daniel Gaunt at Teretonga. Photo by Fast Company/Graham Blow.