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Disappointment in the NZ Grand Prix


Another New Zealand Grand Prix has come and gone.

Unfortunately it didn’t go to plan for the Exide Team and I didn’t get a fourth GP title.

We really struggled to get a new set of tyres to work in qualifying, but in the race the car felt great. I managed to pass about four cars off the line and was running eighth in the opening laps, but then the car dropped on to three cylinders.

The Toyota guys managed to replace a faulty coil pack in record time, which isn’t an easy task as the inlet manifold has to come off.

I went back out on the track but by then the race was all over for me, and the same problem happened again five laps later, so I parked it. It was a real shame, as having looked at the results, I really believe we were capable of a top three or four finish.

One of the main talking points over the GP weekend was the growing resentment against the severity and level of fines and sanctions against competitors.

I’m the first to agree that cheating and unsportsmanlike behaviour need to be punished, but there’s nothing to distinguish between a blatant disregard for the rules and someone who has made a small, insignificant and honest mistake.

Not only is there an automatic $3000 fine, there’s also disqualification and loss of championship points.

Motorsport is expensive enough, and despite the involvement of corporate sponsors, most competitors are funding most of their racing out of their own back pockets, and this level of sanctioning is both inequitable and unsustainable.

I truly hope someone in MotorSport NZ comes back down to earth and something sensible can be done to sort this problem out.

We, as competitors, need to realise that without us, there’s no show and there’s no business, and we need to stand up and fight back.

On a happier note, I was very impressed over the GP weekend with the performance of Dominic Storey, who was having his first outing in the Toyota Racing Series. He slowly improved his performance over the weekend, finishing with a top five result in the GP.

It will be interesting to see how well he goes in TRS races at the V8 Supercars meeting at Pukekohe.

In the meantime, stay safe and I’ll catch you at a racetrack soon.

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