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Pedersen sets sights on top three

A fascinating battle is developing in the Battery Town Porsche GT3 cup this season for third place honours, and it’s not too far behind pace-setters Craig Baird and Matt Halliday.

Snapping at their heels are Daniel Gaunt making the step to GT3s as the reigning Toyota Racing Series champion, Jono Lester into his second season and very impressive in the new 997, and the fast and experienced Australian driver Rodney Forbes.

In the heat of the battle over second place, the first-up performances of 19-year-old Anthony Pedersen in the first two rounds were in danger of being overlooked, but the youngster – making the step up from Mini Challenge – has demonstrated plenty of pace and a sensible attitude.

“I guess I was a bit lucky at the first round where Matty and Jono had problems, but I’m getting there slowly,” Pedersen said this week.

“I know there’s more time in myself but I’m not going to go stupid, I’m going to let it come slowly,” he said, referring to the massive step up from the front-wheel drive Mini Challenge car to the latest 997 GT3.

Pedersen didn’t have time for testing before the series’ opening round at Pukekohe because he was completing an exam, but he did get a couple of days in before Ruapuna and hopes to get a couple more before the third round at Taupo.

Before the season, Pedersen would happily have contested a second year of Mini Challenge and had a crack at winning the championship, but his father Paul and team manager Lyall Williamson decided he was ready to move to GT3.

“Before the season we decided that a top five (in the GT3 championship) would be good, but now I believe the top three might be achievable,” he said.

“If we can just keep hounding Bairdo and Matty and learning with every round, it might be on, but then again, Daniel, Jono and Rodney Forbes probably all think the same.”

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