Queensland-based Kiwi driver Chris Pither is the 2010/2011 ENZED V8 Ute Challenge champion
Pither sealed his second consecutive ENZED V8 Ute title when he crossed the line to win the second race of the final round at Hamilton on Sunday.
The defending champion had arrived at Hamilton 71 points in arrears of series leader Caine Lobb. He closed that gap when he outqualified his rival on Friday but the race that ultimately decided the outcome of the series was the first of the round on Saturday morning. As Pither and Lobb exited the first corner of the race in wet, slippery conditions Lobb clipped the rear of the Gallagher XR8 Falcon giving 'The Gypsy' some anxious moments before he regained control. Lobb retired after the incident while Pither nursed the Gallagher XR8 Falcon back through the field to second place despite the fact the right front tyre was rubbing. The result of the race saw Chris take an eleven point lead in the series, the first time he had headed the points all season.
The following morning 'The Gypsy' drove a great race in the Gallagher XR8 Falcon coming from the back of the grid to win. On his way through the field he engaged in door to door battles with the other
title contenders, Lobb and Simon Beirne. Beirne continued on to finish second behind Chris while Lobb again retired, this time with overheating troubles. The result of the race ensured Chris of the title.
With the title in the bag the final race was the icing on the cake. Chris raced away and was never headed on his way to yet another race win, one that also gave him the round victory.
'I always thought we could do it," said Chris. "Taupo was a setback but I came here knowing I just had to try my hardest to win and to take a clean sweep. I did it at Manfeild so I knew it was achievable. I knew it was realistic and it was possible on points. I did drive a little conservatively at times. I didn't need to bin it and I backed off a couple of times. In the second race of the round on Sunday when Jake Stoneman radioed on lap 5 to say I was in fourth position I was surprised. I thought there were more ahead of me. Compared to this title my other wins have been pretty easy. We had our challenges and a few dramas but no one in the team ever gave up. There was always a positive attitude." Chris had suffered several breakdowns in the Gallagher XR8 Falcon in the early rounds of the series but stormed back over the latter part of the season once those issues were overcome.
Chris now returns to Australia where he is contesting the Australian V8 Ute Championship this season.