The new GTRNZ saloon category featuring the fastest, most radical saloon cars in the country lived up to all its promise at the Taupo Motorsport Park this weekend
The new category is split into three classes, GT1 and GT2 which race together and NZGT which runs in their own separate races. Each class provided exciting, action-packed racing throughout the weekend and with a full season ahead this class is destined to become a favourite.
Tauranga's Grant Brennan was the dominant player in the GT1 Class at Taupo, winning all three races in his Brennan SB2 Corvette with John Rae of New Plymouth in his C5 Corvette the runner-up on each occasion.
The racing was competititve throughout the round and each race featured a different third placegetter. Former NZ Super Sedan Champion Dayne Running of Drury was third in the opening race on Saturday afternoon in his ex-Mark Petch Chev Corvette. In Sunday's races Cameron Jones of Palmerston North took third in the morning in his rotary powered Chev Camaro while Tauranga driver Bernie Gillon snared third in the final race.
Tauranga drivers Tim Rooney and Andy Greenslade both encountered problems today. Rooney's Ford Mustang overheated after a delay during the second race while Greenslade broke a driveshaft in his Corvette.
In the GT2 section the wins were shared between Mark Ross of Taupo in a Ford Mustang and NZV8 driver Nick Ross of Cambridge. While they share the same surname the two drivers are not related. Mark won Saturday's race and the final one this afternoon while Nick took the Sunday morning race in a Toyota Altezza. Mark finished third in the other race while Nick backed up his earlier victory with a third place in the final race.
Others to the fore in the GT2 Class were Craig Corliss who took his Falcon V8 Supercar to a fourth and two second placings while Aucklander Wayne Conder in a Chev Camaro and Te Puke driver Peter Stewart in his Chev Cortina were second and third respectively in the opening race on Saturday.
The large NZGT race fields provided great entertainment with three different winners over the course of the round. Greg Kilworth won Saturday's race in his Mazda RX7 in a close finish from Feilding driver Graham Barnes in a Capri. Kohimarama Porsche driver Kevin Cantwell was third. Brock Cooley of Wellington won Sunday morning's race in his EVO ahead of Kilworth who was followed home by Stephen Brown-Thomas of New Plymouth in a Subaru WRX.
The final race went to Whitford's Conal Dempsey in a Porsche 964 RS. Tauranga driver David Brennan was second in his Nissan Cefiro with Brent Dickson of Kawarau third in his ex-NZV8 AU Falcon third.,
The three classes of GTRNZ certainly made an exciting impression on debut at Taupo with excellent racing and large fields. Their next outing will be at Pukekohe Park Raceway south of Auckland over the weekend of 5/6 December.
2009/2010 CALENDAR - GTRNZ
Round 1: 24/25 October 2009 - Taupo Motorsport Park, Taupo
Round 2: 5/6 December 2009 - Pukekohe Park Raceway, Pukekohe
Round 3: 2/3 January 2010 - Taupo Motorsport Park, Taupo
Round 4: 23/24 January 2010 - Manfeild Park, Feilding
Round 5: 20/21 February 2010 - Pukekohe Park, Pukekohe
Round 6: 6/7 March 2010 - Manfeild Park, Feilding
Round 7: 3/4 April 2010 - Taupo Motorsport Park, Taupo