Wellington driver Simon McLennan did not take long to notch his debut victory in the Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup
The category rookie scored not only his first race win at Powerbuilt Tools International Raceway at Ruapuna in Christchurch this weekend but he also went on to win the round in just his second weekend of competition in the class.
"What is it about Ruapuna?" asked the 22-year-old after his stunning success.
Last year at the technical 3.33 kilometre circuit McLennan took his debut race and round win in the MINI Challenge Series and now twelve months later he has repeated the feat in his next step up the motorsport ladder.
It was an impressive performance by the Wellingtonian who only had his first racing outing in his New World Metro On Willis Porsche at Pukekohe at the beginning of November. On that occasion he was fourth in the class but this weekend he was on the event podium as the winner of the 996 Cup Class for the older model Porsches in the field.
The success was initiated in Saturday afternoon's double points, 100 kilometre enduro race when Simon took his maiden win after chief rival Hugh Gardiner ran out of petrol near the end of the race. "In the 100km race it is important to sit back and consider the long race. Hugh is the class of the 996 field but you need to be there at the end. I had a good pitstop, a lightning one which is testament to the team."
The following morning McLennan crossed the line second only to be penalised for an infringement at the start. "I made a really good start but I made a novice mistake. I had my front wheels out of the start box." A five second penalty dropped Simon from second to third. The final race delivered a second place behind Gardiner in a race shortened when rain began to fall across the circuit. "We were on slicks, it was very, very twitchy." The three results gave McLennan the class win in just his second weekend in the series.
McLennan who is a relative latecomer to the sport has made a big impression in just two rounds.
"We had a little luck," he said yesterday as he contemplated the round. "After my success last year I carried a bit of confidence here. I enjoy the track and after this weekend it will be a favourite for a while."
The weekend wasn't without its challenges. During Friday testing McLennan left the track, giving his Motorsport Services crew "a bit of work to do." The changeable weather was also challenging. "The weather threw us a major curve ball. Pukekohe had been simple - it was dry all the tiime."
Teretonga Park in Invercargill is the venue for the third round of the championship from 15-17 January.
Simon McLennan's campaign in the 2009/2010 Battery Town Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Championship is supported by New World Metro On Willis, Auto Despatch, Heretaunga Collision Repair Centre, Ice Tech New Zealand, Orrsum Laser Services, RTW Motors Ltd, Kinetic 121 and Powder Coating Services.
CALENDAR 2009/2010 BATTERY TOWN PORSCHE GT3 CUP CHALLENGE CHAMPIONSHIP
Round 1 - 6-8 November 2009: Pukekohe Park Raceway, Auckland
Round 2 - 27-29 November 2009: Powerbuilt Tools International Raceway, Ruapuna, Christchurch
Round 3 - 15-17 January 2010: Teretonga Park, Invercargill
Round 4 - 22-24 January 2010: Timaru International Motor Raceway, Timaru
Round 5 - 12-14 February 2010: Manfeild Park, Feilding
Round 6 - 19-21 March 2010: Taupo Motorsport Park, Taupo
Non-Championship Trophy Race - 16-18 April 2010: Hamilton 400, Hamilton