The Autotrader Series 6 RX-7, piloted by Dean McMillan, started the 2010 Mazda Pro7 Plus racing season the best possible way by winning the opening round at Manfield in early October
Since then, Dean's been on fire following it up with lap record pace in Round 2 at Taupo several weeks later.
The opening round of the season saw Dean put his Autotrader-sponsored Batmobile RX-7 on the front row of the grid, when he qualified 2nd fastest with an impressive time after having sat out Friday's practice day due to work commitments. .
Dean was beaten on track by season returnee James Parker, who was showing blistering speed by winning all three races and setting the fastest lap times in each race. Dean and last year's Championship winner Matt Lockwood were at a loss to match Parkers outright car speed. Later checks at the completion of race 3 saw Parker's car disqualified from that race for a technical issue, hence giving Dean race 3 honours and the Championship lead heading into round 2.
"That's what we wanted to do this year," commented Dean. "I wanted to start the season strongly and lay a good foundation to carry us through the series. Its always easier to Lead than be playing catch up, so our team is really happy to have made the start we had hoped for."
Round 2 was held in Taupo over Labour weekend under clear blue sky's.
Qualifying saw Dean put his car on pole position, over 2 seconds ahead of his closest rival.
James Parker missed qualifying with late minute issues, and Matt Lockwood was unfortunately a 'no show' for this round after his strong showing at the previous meeting.
Race 1 saw Dean lead from the outset, but he was soon under strong pressure from Parker who had quickly made his way through to second. Dean was able to hold on for the win, just over 2 seconds ahead of Parker in 2nd place with Myles Fothergill in 3rd.
The reverse grid race 2 saw Dean start at the back of the grid, and have the challenge of making his way to the front without incurring any damage on the way. Parker took an early lead after a strong start, with Dean taking until lap 2 to make his way into second place. With his head down and focussed on chasing down the leader, Dean set a blistering pace in pursuit of James and in the process smashed the lap record by half a second to leave it at a new mark of 1.33.4.
Parker held on to win from a very fast finishing McMillan in second place.
Going into the final race Dean and James were on equal points for the weekend with a race win and a second place to both their names, the winner of this race would take the overall round victory.
James jumped Dean off the start, and the two quickly broke away from the rest of the pack as they fought for the lead.
Early into the fourth lap Dean was applying maximum pressure to the race leader when he lost the backend of his car and spun in turn 2. One of the following cars just clipped the front end of Dean's car, knocking off the front spoiler as he tried to miss Dean. Dean quickly recovered and set off after the leaders only to have his car lose all electrical power about half a lap later.
Dean quickly isolated the problem to be a broken battery terminal, so quickly made make shift efforts to reconnect the terminal and at least finish the race to get some points. Unfortunately the terminal had shorted out and blown a fuse to the ECU, which meant that Dean had to watch as his fellows competitors go by. So a DNF in the final race meant that Dean went from the series leader to 3rd in the points standings, a mere 9 points off the leader James Parker.
The 3rd round is to be held during the first weekend of December, at Pukekohe's very popular "Thunder In The Park" meeting. Dean is looking forward to his pursuit of getting back to the top of the leader's board, and putting on some exciting racing for the always big crowds that come out to this meeting.