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Stowell celebrates debut with Sport Saloons win

 

Neville Stowell made the debut of his new Nissan Skyline GTR a memorable one at Powerbuilt Tools International Raceway in Christchurch today after provisionally taking the honours at Round 4 of the 2006/2007 Kumho Sport Saloon Series. The South Canterbury driver won two of the three races over the weekend and set a new lap record with the new car.

Untitled Document Neville Stowell made the debut of his new Nissan Skyline GTR a memorable one at Powerbuilt Tools International Raceway in Christchurch today after provisionally taking the honours at Round 4 of the 2006/2007 Kumho Sport Saloon Series. The South Canterbury driver won two of the three races over the weekend and set a new lap record with the new car.

Stowell drove to a race win on debut yesterday afternoon and then lined up sixth on the grid for this morning's top six reverse grid race. Fellow Timaru driver Matt Dunn was on pole with Ashburton's Kerry Bartlett alongside. However the 4 wheel drive traction of Phil Hood and John Hepburn in their Mitsubishi EVO's saw them burst through from the second row at the start with Stowell in hot pursuit. Hepburn led out of Turn 1 with Stowell emerging in second place. Hood followed Stowell into the next corner but spun, as did Kieran Parish further down the field. Stowell made a failed attempt to pass Hepburn at the hairpin on lap 2 before grabbing the lead on the next lap. Stowell then led to the flag while behind him, Bartlett recovering from his slower start, was involved in a dice with Hepburn. Bartlett got past to claim second on the final lap. Stowell took the flag for his second win of the weekend, setting a new lap record of 1 minute 30.120 seconds on the way. Championship leader Mike Small was fourth after selecting fifth gear instead of third off the start. The Timaru driver also suffered from shock absorber problems during the race. Arron Black was fifth, followed by Dunn, while Brent Russell was next ahead of Hood recovering from his spin with Matt Edgar rounding out the top ten.

Nathan McAuley and Ron Shelton were excluded after their boost lights activated during the race. Kieran Parish and Grant Waters retired while both Raymond Hart and Mark Robertson limped home with problems.

The final race of the weekend was held this afternoon with Grant Waters leading away in a handicap race with a group of four cars, Nathan McAuley, Gary Duncan, Matt Edgar and Raymond Hart away next. Hart was in the lead by the hairpin on the second lap and Edgar followed him through soon after. However the interest was on the fast group at the back, particularly Stowell who was moving through the field. On lap three he ran wide over a ripple strip and holed a sump forcing his retirement, fortunately without damage to the engine.

Hart took the win as the last lap developed into a good battle between Edgar, Shelton, Black and John Hepburn for the minor placings. They finished in that order with Bartlett in sixth place.

Despite his misfortune in the handicap event Stowell provisionally claimed the honours for the weekend with his two earlier wins giving him the round ahead of another Timaru driver, John Hepburn.

Stowell was "over the moon" with his new car. He made no changes over the weekend choosing to just get to grips with the car at it's first event.

The previous day Bartlett had been the fastest qualifier in a time of 1 minute 31.149 seconds. Stowell was next with a time of 1 minute 31.982.

Hepburn led early in Saturday's race before Stowell managed to take the lead on the second lap. Hepburn and Kerry Bartlett battled over second place until the final lap when Bartlett made contact with the former motorcycle champion's EVO, turning it around and dropping Hepburn to fourth place behind Small. Bartlett was later penalised 10 seconds dropping him to fifth and promoting Small to second, Hepburn to third and Phil Hood to fourth.

There was plenty of attrition in Saturday's race with Arron Black, Raymond Hart, Kieran Parish and Mark Robertson all retiring with a variety of problems while Brent Russell and Gary Duncan were disqualified after their boost lights activated during the race.

The next round of the Kumho Sport Saloon Series will take place at Timaru International Motor Raceway at Levels near Timaru over the weekend of 27/28 January.

PROVISIONAL RESULTS

QUALIFYING

1st - Kerry Bartlett (Ashburton) Mazda RX7 - 1minute 31.149 seconds

2nd - Neville Stowell (Timaru) Nissan Skyline GTR - 1 minute 31.982 seconds

3rd - Mike Small (Timaru) Nissan Skyline GTR - 1 minute 32.392 seconds

4th - John Hepburn (Timaru) Mitsubishi EVO - 1 minute 32.464 seconds

5th - Arron Black (Dunedin) Toyota Starlet - 1 minute 33.671 seconds

6th - Phil Hood (Blenheim) Mitsubishi EVO - 1 minute 33.873 seconds

7th - Matt Dunn (Timaru) Toyota Corolla - 1 minute 35.925 seconds

8th - Ron Shelton (Timaru) Nissan Silvia - 1 minute 35.983 seconds

9th - Matt Edgar (Wanaka) Toyota Corolla - 1 minute 36.277 seconds

10th - Mark Robertson (Christchurch) Nissan Silvia - 1 minute 36.527 seconds

11th - Raymond Hart (Timaru) Nissan Skyline - 1 minute 36.914 seconds

12th - Kieran Parish (Motueka) Mitsubishi EVO - 1 minute 37.837 seconds

13th - Gary Duncan (Temuka) Toyota Corolla - 1 minute 39.549 seconds

14th - Grant Waters (Timaru) Mitsubishi Lancer - 1 minute 43.532 seconds

15th - Brent Russell (Rangiora) Mitsubishi EVO - 1 minute 36.390 seconds (Penalty)

16th - Nathan McAuley (Timaru) Mitsubishi EVO - 1 minute 38.493 seconds (Penalty)

17th - Leighton Hill (Christchurch) Toyota Levin - DNP

RACE 1 (5 LAPS) GRID START

1st - Neville Stowell

2nd - Mike Small

3rd - John Hepburn

4th - Phil Hood

5th - Kerry Bartlett

6th - Matt Dunn

7th - Ron Shelton

8th - Matt Edgar

9th - Nathan McAuley

10th - Grant Waters

DSQ - Brent Russell, Gary Duncan

DNF - Mark Robertson, Kieran Parish, Raymond Hart, Arron Black

RACE 2 (5 LAPS) TOP 6 REVERSE GRID

1st - Neville Stowell

2nd - Kerry Bartlett

3rd - John Hepburn

4th - Mike Small

5th -Arron Black

6th- Matt Dunn

7th Brent Russell

8th - Phil Hood

9th - Matt Edgar

10th - Gary Duncan

11th - Mark Robertson

12th - Raymond Hart

DSQ - Ron Shelton, Nathan McAuley

DNF - Grant Waters, Kieran Parish

(New Lap Record - Neville Stowell - 1 minute 30.120 seconds)

RACE 3 (5 LAPS) HANDICAP

1st - Raymond Hart

2nd - Matt Edgar

3rd - Ron Shelton

4th - Arron Black

5th - John Hepburn

6th - Kerry Bartlett

7th - Brent Russell

8th - Mike Small

9th - Nathan McAuley

10th Gary Duncan

11th - Phil Hood

12th - Grant Waters

DSQ - Matt Dunn

DNF - Neville Stowell, Kieran Parish

DNS - Mark Robertson


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