Reid takes New Zealand into series lead
New Zealand A1GP driver Jonny Reid didn’t have the happiest of times at his home country round at Taupo in 2006.
But last weekend, the young Aucklander more than made amends, qualifying on pole for the Sprint Race and then going out and winning it.
He’d also looked likely to be on pole for the Feature Race, putting Black Beauty on the provisional pole in segment one of the two-part qualifying session on a windswept Taupo racetrack made treacherously slippery by wind-blown dust.
But in the fourth segment he was bumped back to fifth and the French and German drivers would start from the front row.
He made a disastrous start, hanging up on wheelspin and bogging the engine and dropped to 12th.
From there, he produced a performance full of character, digging deep and fighting his way to a fourth-place finish with a drive that included some beautiful passing moves.
The win and the fourth placing saw Reid take Team NZ to the top of the points tree, and the black squad goes to Sydney’s Eastern Creek with a two-point series lead.
German driver Christian Vietoris won the Feature Race from Canadian 18-year-old Robert Wickens who has finished on the podium twice in the three rounds he has so far contested.
Frenchman Loic Duval came home third, ahead of Reid who earlier in the day scored a lights-to-flag victory in the Sprint Race.
On his way to fourth place, Reid benefited from some retirements by cars ahead of him and settled into seventh place, leading briefly before he made the first of his two compulsory pitstops.
After a Safety Car period, Reid poured the pressure on Brazil’s Sergio Jimenez before passing him with a copybook, beautifully-executed move in the sweeper which leads on to the main straight.
A slick second pitstop got Reid out ahead of the Portuguese car, and after the pitstop shuffle as cars made their second stops and with a scheduled16 laps to run, he was fourth, staying there to the finish.
In the middle segment of the race, Reid had made up placings with two stunning copybook inside line passing moves in the sweeper, one on Adran Zaugg.
Earlier in the day, the Taupo Motorsport Park crowd went wild as Reid drove Black Beauty to a lights to flag victory in the Sprint Race.
The crowd gave Reid a standing ovation as he completed his slowdown lap.
Reid, who started from pole position, won the start to lead South Africa’s Adrian Zaugg and Germany’s Christian Vietoris into the first corner.
Zaugg resisted a bold attempt by Vietoris to pass on the inside line.
Behind them all hell broke loose as Swiss driver Neel Jani tried to pass Malaysian Alex Yoong on the inside.
Jani was on the grass, and the two cars collided, Yoong’s car riding up on the Swiss machine and narrowly missing Jani’s head.
Both cars were out of the race, and the Safety Car was deployed.
Reid won the restart, and Vietoris put the pressure on Zaugg, passing him within three laps and setting off after Reid.
Vietoris began to nibble away at the Kiwi’s lead, cutting it to just over a second at one point before Reid began to extend the margin in the closing laps.
Frenchman Loic Duval came home third behind Vietoris after getting the better of Zaugg.
Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen finished fifth, closing in on Zaugg. Ireland’s Adam Carroll was sixth.
British driver Robbie Kerr was knocked out of contention after trying to pass American Jonathan Summerton in the corner at the end of the main straight.
Kerr was on the inside line and the pair made contact as Summerton turned into the slow left-hander.
Kerr regained the pits and resumed the race several laps later.