Event Preview Rnd 3 2011

After torrential rain forced a premature end to the first New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing - Chris Amon classic motor racing meeting at Hampton Downs last Sunday, drivers contesting this season's MSC New Zealand F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series are hoping for better weather this weekend.

By the time the 29-strong grid of V8-powered single-seater F5000 cars (plus Ron Maydon's Amon Formula 1 car) had assembled for their first race last Saturday afternoon weather and track conditions were marginal and after several cars aquaplaned off the circuit the organisers decided to call the race early.

They then held off the Sunday programme in case the rain and wind abated, but at 11am made the difficult decision to cancel the rest of the programme in the hope of better, more settled weather this weekend..

Despite an often-stated aversion to the rain - not to mention a sticking throttle - defending MSC series champion and fastest qualifier Ken Smith (Lola T430) won last weekend's incident-packed race from visiting British drivers Mark Dwyer and Michael Lyons (both Lola T400) and Peter Dunn (March 73/A).

Smith said yesterday that he has driven in worse conditions but that like everyone else, he would prefer it if the track stayed dry this weekend.

"To be honest with you," he said this morning, "it wasn't that bad, but it's better for everyone, obviously, if the rain stays away. I said before the weekend that I'd like to see if I can get into the 61s round the place and now that I've done that (Smith claimed pole position last weekend with a best lap of 1.01.162) I'd like to see if I can get into the 60s this weekend. And to do that I need it to stay dry!"

As he was last weekend Smith will again be one of the busiest drivers at this weekend's meeting, driving four different cars; the Lola T430 he has used to win the MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series for the past two seasons, as well as a 1992 Dallara Formula 3 car, a 1984 Lola 644 Formula Ford and Albany Toyota dealer Andrew Mackenzie's New Zealand 2 Litre Touring Car championship-spec Toyota Corona.

A feature of this weekend's programme will be a special F1-style qualifying shoot-out on Friday to determine the grid for the first MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series race with two timed sessions to find the fastest ten and a third to establish the starting order of that ten.

Smith says that the MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series field is now so competitive he can no longer name just the one driver who he expects to push him in qualifying and the three races on the event programme.

"Mark Dwyer's good, and so is young Michael Lyons but our guys, the likes of Steve Ross and Roger Williams, they're quick too. Give us some good weather and we'll put on a show alright, don't you worry about that."

For more information about the two NZ Festival of Motor Racing - Chris Amon meetings go to www.nzfmr.co.nz.

The MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series is organised and run with the support of sponsors MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney's Specialized Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Pacifica, Smith & Davies, Avon Tyres and Exide.

Ends

Calendar
Rnd 1: Oct 30/31 2010 Christchurch Casino Wigram revival meeting Powerbuilt Tools Raceway @ Ruapuna Park Christchurch
Rnd 2: Jan 21-23 2011 NZ Festival of Motor Racing - Chris Amon meeting x 1 Hampton Downs Auckland
Rnd 3: Jan 28-30 2011 NZ Festival of Motor Racing - Chris Amon meeting x 2 Hampton Downs Auckland
Rnd 4: Feb 05/06 2011 Skope Classic meeting Powerbuilt Tools Raceway @ Ruapuna Park Christchurch
Rnd 5: Feb 19-20 2011 Evolution Motorsport Classic Speedfest meeting, Teretonga Park Invercargill
Rnd 6 (Final) March 25-27 2011 Qantas Australian Grand Prix March Albert Park Melbourne, Australia