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Cunningham wins NZ Motor Cup race


Open wheeler ace wins NZ's oldest motor racing trophy in TRS series finale.

Newly-crowned Toyota Racing Series champion, Mitch Cunningham, won only one race at Pukekohe this weekend, but it was the crucial one, the New Zealand Motor Cup.

The open-wheeler star had clinched the 2008/2009 TRS crown in the second of the class’s three races this morning, and was out to make sure he added the historic trophy to his cabinet.

He blasted off the line to squeeze into the high-speed Jennian Homes sweeper inside double race winner, Michael Burdett.

Burdett challenged him hard in the opening laps, then spun at Castrol, the corner on to the back straight.

He got going again at the back of the field, but further around the lap had an “off” which broke the car’s chassis.

The Tatuus came down the pit straight with the chassis skewed and the right front wheel off the ground, and Burdett did well to control the car and park it out of harm’s way off the sweeper.

Out came the Safety Car as course workers picked up debris shed by the car.

Cunningham won the restart and a second restart later after Daniel Jilesen spun at the beginning of the back straight, and was collected by Ken Smith.

Smith got going again but later retired.

Cunningham hung on to win, from Sam MacNeill and Australian Scott Pye.

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