New Zealand racing driver Matt Halliday has completed a busy and challenging period in his International motor racing career with a well earned victory in the final round of the Asian Formula Renault V6 Championship at the Zhuhai circuit in China.
His successful weekend came at the conclusion of an International campaign in which he raced for A1TEAM.NZL in the A1GP series at Zandvoort in Holland, followed by racing Bathurst's Super Cheap Auto 1000 V8 Supercar race with Ford Performance Racing.
His weekend at the opening A1GP race at Zandvoort resulted in disappointment when a faulty wheel nut ruined the teams pit stop during the Feature Race and with it an almost certain podium finish after finishing sixth in the opening sprint race. His Bathurst weekend looked very promising and left Halliday impressed with the FPR operation. The race set up for the Ford Falcon BA he was sharing with David Brabham saw them running as high as 8th. Unfortunately the weekend came to an abrupt halt when failing fuel pressure saw him spin, forcing a lengthy pit stop which effectively ended their weekend.
Halliday's weekend at Zhuhai was one of his most successful to date when he qualified second for the two Formula Renault V6 Asia rounds being held over the weekend. In Saturday's sprint and feature races he took out two close second places which were then backed up by another second in Sunday's 12 lap sprint race. As the weekend progressed, the team worked to fine tune the car's race set up which culminated in Matt taking a well earned victory in Sunday's Feature Race. The results from the final two rounds saw Halliday finish the Championship in second place overall in the drivers championship despite missing the opening round.
These results also reward the team's sponsors for the campaign, LOST CITY POKER.COM, 42 BELOW and GILTRAP PRESTIGE. Under the banner of Team Meritus the pairing of the Matt Halliday and Hamad Al Farden with Marchy Lee standing in for the final rounds, finished runner up in the Team Championship. Halliday is quick to acknowledge the efforts of his all Kiwi race crew:
"We enjoyed a special weekend as we constantly fine tuned the car to obtain the best set up and I am indebted to the guys for their hard work and consistent efforts over the course of the championship. We have completed every session and every race of the championship apart from a tyre deflation at Sepang which unfortunately cost us a podium.
This series has been very competitive at the top, like most series are around the world today and winning races has been hard. It has contributed to my experience and competitiveness and I now look forward to my next A1GP race." he said after the final podium ceremony.
Team Owner, Barrie Thomlinson, went on to pay tribute to Halliday and his mechanics;
"Matt has always displayed to me a truly professional approach to racing and this has been proved by our result. We went into the championship knowing that if we had the smallest problem we would struggle to continue on with the campaign. Remembering also that we only entered the championship at the 2nd Round. We had to keep our nose clean and finish races and both Matt and the mechanics have done a near perfect job. It is rare to see these types of highly stressed single seater cars finish every lap of every session and this has been achieved. My thanks go to Matt and the guys who have made this a very enjoyable experience."
Over the summer months, Halliday will concentrate on his commitment to A1TEAM.NZL for the remainder of the A1GP series although he is scheduled to appear in selected rounds of the New Zealand Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge. The next A1GP round will be held in Beijing on 12th November with the opening Porsche GT3 round at Pukekohe Park raceway on 4th and 5th November.