INTERNATIONALS BOLSTER MSC FIELD FOR TERETONGA FINAL


Over 30 years later many of those same fans will be back at the circuit this weekend to watch a 16-strong MSC New Zealand F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series field repeat the exercise at the annual Evolution Motorsport Classic Speedfest meeting.  

Appropriately it is again a Kiwi driver, this time defending MSC series champion Steve Ross (McRae GM1) from Dunedin, who has a healthy lead in the series points standings ahead of the Teretonga final, with series original Ken Smith (Lola T332) second and MSC series newcomer Clark Proctor (March 73A) third.  

Smith, a two-time MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series champion, decided not to travel south for the Skope Classic and Evolution Motorsport Classic Speedfest rounds this season, so the battle up front this weekend will be between champion-elect Ross and Proctor, the latter worked his way into series' podium contention after claiming his first pole position at the first NZ Festival of Motor Racing meetings at Hampton Downs in January and his first MSC series race win at the second Festival meeting a week later.  

Since then the former Speedway, NZV8s and Targa competitor has gone on to claim a second pole and two more race wins at the annual Skope Classic meeting in Christchurch and Steve Ross is in no doubt what he has to do this weekend.  

"Keep this newcomer fellow behind us!" he grinned after doing just that in the second MSC race at the Skope  meeting a fortnight ago.  

Of the internationals it is the Australians who have the best record at Teretonga with Neil Allen (McLaren M10B) from Sydney winning in 1971, Kevin Bartlett (McLaren M10B), also from Sydney winning in 1972 and Max Stewart (Lola T330) from Orange winning in 1974.  

This weekend three of their counterparts will be at Teretonga, Bryan Sala from Sydney driving a Matich A50 and Melbournites Paul Zazryn (Lola T332) and Bill Hemming (Elfin MR8A-C).  

Sala qualified quickest and won a race - over Ken Smith and Steve Ross - at the opening round of this season's MSC series at Sydney Motorsport Park last September and with Zazryn and the three British drivers competing this weekend is a definite podium prospect.  

British driver Allan Rollinson won the 1973 Teretonga race in a McRae GM1 so it is again, entirely appropriate, that one of the trio on Brits competing this weekend, Greg Thornton, also drives a GM1. He and compatriots Michael Whatley (Surtees TS8) and Monaco-based Peter Dunn (March 73A) have all run strongly at earlier MSC rounds this season with Thornton winning two of the three races at the non-championship round in Sydney in November.  

Whatley, meanwhile, is one of the quickest drivers of earlier Class A cars, qualifying third and finishing third in two of the three MSC races at the Skope Classic meeting.  

Finally, Sam Posey (Surtees TS11)  was one of a small number of American drivers who ventured to New Zealand and Australia to contest the Tasman Series back in the early 1970s, his best finish at Teretonga second to Allan Rollinson in 1973.  

This weekend his legacy will be celebrated by 71-year-old Eric Haga, a category original from Seattle who is not only still competing in historic Formula 5000 races here and in the United States, he is doing so in the same car (a Lola T190) he used first time around!    

Set to join Ross and Proctor in taking on the visiting drivers are David Banks (Talon MR1), Andrew Higgins (Lola T400) and Peter Sundberg (Lola T332) from Auckland, Russell Greer (who drives the ex-Graeme Lawrence Lola T332 which won at Teretonga in 1976) from Blenheim and Lindsay O'Donnell (Begg FM5) and Stan Redmond (Lola T333CS) from Christchurch.  

O'Donnell's Begg FM5 is another with a strong local pedigree being the car campaigned by Drummond man Allan McCully with a best finish at Teretonga of sixth in 1974.   Also joining the MSC field this weekend is Christchurch man Phil Mauger who owns and drives the ex-Denny Hulme McLaren M23 Formula 1 car.  

There are three MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series races on the programme at the Evolution Motorsport Classic Speedfest meeting with qualifying on Saturday morning and an eight-lap race in the afternoon before a second eight-lap race on Sunday morning and a 12-lap final (all with rolling starts) in the afternoon.  

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

Ends  

 2012/13 MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series
Points after 5 (points) rounds of 6
1. Steve Ross (McRae GM1) 507 points
2. Ken Smith (Lola T332) 377
3. Clark Proctor (March 73A) 341
4. Aaron Burson (Talon MR1A) 327
5. David Banks (Talon MR1) 298
6. Alan Dunkley (Lola T140) 289
7. Greg Thornton (McRae GM1) 264
8. David Abbott (Lola T430) 262
9. Russell Greer (Lola T332) 257
10. Bryan Sala (Matich A50) 251
11. Paul Zazryn (Lola T332) 250
12. Brett Willis (Lola T330) 211
13. Peter Sundberg (Lola T332) 195
14. Peter Burson (McRae GM1) 147
15. Bill Hemming (Elfin MR8) 162
16=. Stan Redmond (Lola T332) 151
16=. Rod Carroll (Lola T140) 151
18. Chris Lambden (McRae GM1)150
19. Peter Dunn (March 73A) 142
20. Michael Whatley (Surtees TS8) 133
21. Mark Dwyer (Lola T400) 129
22. Shayne Windelburn (Lola T400) 118
23. Aaron Lewis (Matich A50) 109
24. Ian Clements (Begg FM5) 93
25. Darcy Russell (Lola T332) 87
26. Sefton Gibb (Lola T332) 82
27. John Bryant (Lola T140) 69
28. Warwick Mortimer (Surtees TS5) 68
29=. Phil Mauger (McLaren M23 F1) 60
29=. Poul Christie (McLaren M10B) 60
31. Roger Williams (Lola T332) 51
32. Eric Haga (Lola T190) 50
33. Jay Bondini (Lola T330) 42
34. Andrew Higgins (Lola T400) 33
35. Lindsay McDonnell (Begg FM5) 31
36. Bruce Leeson (McLaren M10B) 01  

Class A                                   
1. Alan Dunkley (Lola T140) 403
2. Rod Carroll (Lola T140) 322
3. Warwick Mortimer(Surtees TS5) 191
4. John Bryant (Lola T140) 182
5. Poul Christie (McLaren M10B) 166
6. Michael Whatley (Surtees TS8) 159