Kayne Scott and John McIntyre go into this afternoon’s reverse grid final NZ V8 race only 13 points apart, McIntyre leading. The title will be decided as they thread their way through the traffic from the back of the grid.
April 22, 2007, 2.50pm. NZ V8 Series leader John McIntyre goes into the championship-deciding reverse grid race at Pukekohe this afternoon confident that he can hold off Kayne Scott and take the title.
That’s even though he is now only 13 points ahead of Scott after the Holden Commodore driver won the first two races at Pukekohe this weekend.
McIntyre (BP Ultimate Ford Falcon) had pressured Scott during today’s race, but says there was no way he could get past the Fujitsu Holden driver.
“I couldn’t really pass Kayne anywhere,” he said.
His best chance came when Scott ran wide at Turn 1, but mindful of the championship situation McIntyre wasn’t willing to push the envelope. When he didn’t get past initially he backed out of the move.
However, that gave Angus Fogg the chance to close and he drafted McIntyre who was drafting Scott down to the hairpin.
McIntyre said he saw that Fogg was sliding as he dived to outbrake him, and let the Caltex Star Mart Falcon driver go – after all, he wasn’t in contention for the V8 title.
And the final race, the reverse grid event due to run later this afternoon?
“I really don’t know,” says McIntyre. “It could be anyone’s.
“But I start in front of Kayne (Scott and Andy Booth are on the back row, with McIntyre and Fogg a row ahead).
“He’s got to beat me by four or five places (to win the title).
“I’ve got good car speed to hold him out if I need to or to hang on to him,” says McIntyre.
“I’ll stick to the plan we’ve had all year: that’s to win the championship.”
McIntyre said he didn’t find this morning’s race that tough, but championship rival Kayne Scott, who had to defend his lead for 16 laps, first against McIntyre and then against Fogg, termed it “a toughie.”
“Whoa, man, they just kept coming at me. Johnny was coming at me real hard.”
Things were complicated by the Holden’s rear tyres going off and losing their grippiness.
“When the rear tyres went it didn’t make life too easy. I had to grit my teeth and hang on.”
The final race? “It’s going to be a big one, the last one. It’ll be very difficult.
“(McIntyre and Fogg) have got a couple of tenths (of seconds) on me now, and they have both got fresh engines. I’m losing a little bit to them down the chute (the long back straight).
“Johnny is starting in front of me, and I’ve got to beat him by a few places to take the title.
“If he uses his head he’s just got to follow me or be just in front of me to the finish line.”
Fogg says his aim is to win the reverse grid race. He made up more than a dozen places in yesterday’s race and scythed through the fast cars to challenge Scott at the hairpin on the final lap.
In this morning’s race, he had passed McIntyre and had challenged Scott on the last lap.
He had closed in as “Johnny and Kayne were taking turns going slow at different parts of the track.
“I was going hard out and they were thinking about (the championship).”
The reverse grid race? “Who would know? It’s a bit of a lottery, (but) my goal is to win the last race of the season.
“I’ve got a good engine and brakes and I should be able to pick (the traffic) off…maybe.”
Photo caption: NZ V8 series leader John McIntyre's Falcon. File photograph.