John McIntyre got his BNT NZ V8s title defence right back on track with a dominating performance at Manfeild last weekend
He drove the BP Ultimate Ford Falcon to victory in all three races – including the reverse grid finale – on a track that he regards as his home circuit. He grew up in Hawke’s Bay and cut his racing teeth at Manfeild.
McIntyre went to Manfeild trailing series leader Kayne Scott (Fujitsu Falcon) by 32 points and left it 38 points in front of the Hamiltonian with one round to go, at Pukekohe in two weekends’ time.
McIntyre says he’ll concentrate on setting up the Falcon to be fast enough to take pole starting position for Pukekohe where he expects there will be six or seven cars within a few tenths of a second of each other.
“Along with Kayne (Scott) and Bairdo (Craig Baird), guys like Tim Edgell will be in the mix for qualifying. Having pole position will be important, but there are also good opportunities for passing at Pukekohe, so we’ll be fighting for the championship right down to the wire.”
McIntyre had the sweet chassis set-up last weekend. “At Manfeild it’s all about getting drive out of the corners and in (the reverse grid) race, I was able to get past a few freight trains of other competitors,” he said.
Scott was left to ruminate on a run of bad luck. “When the luck’s not running your way, it just makes it so hard.
“We got only 20 minutes of testing on Friday after a brand-new clutch failed, which was a disaster.
“In the first rain-affected race, the windscreen fogged and a relay on the demister blew, which meant the visibility was atrocious.
“We did manage to finish second in the second race, but we got tagged in the third race (also wet) when I was being so cautious so we came in to change the tyre as a precaution.
“Then on the last lap the exhaust fell off. It was just one of those weekends.”
Like Scott, Big Ben Pies Holden Commodore racer, Andy Booth, was in the wars. He dropped out of the reverse grid race with damage to the Holden.
That saw him lose third place on series points to United Video Falcon driver Baird who didn’t come away from Manfeild with quite the results he’d been hoping for.
“We had good car speed and thought we might win some races after getting pole on Saturday,” Baird said.
“But it was our first really wet weekend in the car so I’m still learning a little. We’ve moved into third in the championship which is good, but winning championships is all about not having DNFs.
“We had our problems earlier in the season and John and Kayne haven’t had any DNFs.”
Orix Commodore racer Paul Manuell finished third for the weekend with two fourths and a fifth. That’s moved him closer to Booth in the championship points’ table where the two AV8 Motorsport teammates are fourth and fifth.
Sixth-placed Angus Fogg (LG Electronics Falcon) started the reverse grid race from pole and led until a hard-charging Andrew Anderson (ITM Pinepac Commodore) passed him at the hairpin.
Fogg got back ahead when Anderson spun, a mistake that gave McIntyre the chance to snatch the win. Fogg came home second.
BNT NZ V8s points standings
1. John McIntyre, Nelson, Ford Falcon, 1022
2. Kayne Scott, Hamilton, Ford Falcon, 984
3. Craig Baird, Australia, Ford Falcon, 856
4. Andy Booth, Auckland, Holden Commodore, 827
5. Paul Manuell, Auckland, Holden Commodore, 738
6. Angus Fogg, Auckland, Ford Falcon, 655
7. Eddie Bell, Christchurch, Ford Falcon, 605
8. Paul Pedersen, Taupo, Ford Falcon, 590
9. Adam Brook, Christchurch, Ford Falcon, 569
10. Andrew Anderson, Auckland, Holden Commodore, 564