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Knight rides high in 2008 Grand Prix win


Christchurch racer Andy Knight finally put to rest the bitter pill of winning the NZ Grand Prix two years ago and having the win taken away on a techanicality - the Tatuus' taillight wasn't working.

 Andy Knight withstood a final lap charge by Matt Halliday to score a lights to flag victory in the New Zealand Grand Prix at Manfeild this afternoon.

Toyota Racing Series points leader Knight started from pole position, and led the opening laps from former A1GP star Halliday and defending Grand Prix champion Daniel Gaunt.

They were pursued by Earl Bamber who scored a commanding win in the preliminary race earlier this afternoon.

Behind Bamber was Nelson Hartley.

As the race neared one-third distance, Halliday began to close on Knight, and Hartley narrowed the gap to Bamber, catching and passing him on lap 12.

Halliday edged closer to Knight and made a lunge for the lead at the hairpin, going in deep under brakes – too deep, and Knight opened a gap.

The first Safety Car came out on lap 16 when Nic Jordan hit the bank at the exit from the sweeper.

At the restart, Knight held station, with Halliday pursuing, followed by Gaunt and Hartley.

Hartley’s race ended when he dived deep in a bid to pass Gaunt. The cars collided and Hartley was out. Gaunt got going but pitted soon afterwards with a flat left rear tyre.

Knight won the restart, quickly opening a 0.7 second gap to Halliday.

Halliday nibbled away at Knight’s lead, closing right in at the hairpin, then got the car right under the rear wing in the Esses a lap later.

But Knight stayed cool during the final lap, to take the win. Halliday was second. The winning margin was 0,136 of a second.

Bamber had run third till the final lap, but ran wide on a corner and was passed by Ben Harford and Dominic Storey.

Daynom Templeman finished sixth.

Speedway Midget Car ace, Michael Pickens, getting in some tarmac racing experience on his first visit to Manfeild, came home 14th after a couple of offs, including a spin at the sweeper.

Knight said it was great to finally get the GP win after five attempts, and having won it two years ago and then had the win taken away from him on a technicality.

“I think Matt (Halliday) probably was quicker and if he’d got away better off the line it might have been a different story.”

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