CAR CHANGE FOR LYONS BUT RESULT IS THE SAME

After blowing the engine in his own Lola T400 in practice on Friday the 23-year-old stepped into his father's Gurney-Eagle and with little more than a new seat and some minor suspension tweaks qualified it on pole this morning and set a new category track lap record  (at 1:17.723 almost half a second under the previous record set by visiting Canadian driver Jay Esterer in a McRae GM1 in 2011) on his way to victory in the first Mobil 1-backed 8-lap MSC series race in the afternoon. 

The victory extends Lyons Jnr's winning 2013/14 streak to seven and means he now holds the F5000 category lap record at two New Zealand circuits, Hampton Downs in the North Island and Mike Pero Motorsport Park (nee Ruapuna) in the South.  

"The initial thought when Dad offered me his car was to say no, because I had already damaged one, "said Lyons Jnr, "but then David Abbott was kind enough to offer Dad his car (a Lola T430) so I thought, I might as well (drive the Gurney-Eagle). 

"The good thing with the Eagle is that it is such an easy car to to drive. We had to take Dad's seat out so I could fit in it but the boys made me up one of my own overnight and apart from that, a bit of bar (antiroll) bar and a few tweaks to the suspension here and there everything else is as Dad raced it at Hampton Downs."

Lyons was second away at the start  but once in the lead eased away from the front foursome which included series champion-elect Andrew Higgins (Lola T400) and third quickest qualifier, Tony Richards (Lola T332). 

Enjoying one of his strongest runs just behind Richards was fellow Lola T332 driver Russell Greer with a gap back to a a three-way mid-field battle-pack consisting of Aaron Burson (McRae GM1), David Banks (Talon MR1) and Ian Clements (Lola T332).  

Keeping pace behind them, meanwhile, were Frank Lyons in his borrowed Lola T430, Tony Richards' brother Glenn in only his third meeting behind the wheel of his Lola T400, and Tim Rush (McLaren M22) and Peter Burson (McRae GM1). 

Local man Ian Clements had a close shave in qualifying, running off the track at high speed and grazing the tyre wall when bolts in a rear brake caliper broke, and - though the the time he had already set was good enough for P6 on the grid - had to start the race on P9 thanks to a new rule which penalises drivers who disrupt a qualifying session.  

Another Christchurch-based driver, Dave Arrowsmith, was part of the mid-field group early on in his Class A Lotus 70, running in eighth spot until the fourth lap when he speared off the track and brought out the Safety Car.  

That bunched up the field for the next two laps with the track only going green again for the final lap.  

Determined not to lose his hard-won lead Michael Lyons not only timed the re-start just right, it was on the final lap that he set his new lap record...then afterwards reckoned he might go even quicker tomorrow! " 

"We did in qualifying (his pole time was a 1:17.403) so yes I think I can get down to that time in a race," he said. 

Today's race was preceded by a minute's silence in honour of the late Stan Redmond and tomorrow will see the final two MSC NZ F5000 series races for the 2013/14 season with a second eight-lapper in the morning and a 12 lap feature race in the afternoon. 

The MSC NZ 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, Avon Tyres, Webdesign and Exide.  

Ends 

2013/14 MSC New Zealand F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series 
Qualifying
1. Michael Lyons (Gurney-Eagle FA74) 01:17.430
2. Steve Ross (McRae GM1) 01:18.593
3. Tony Richards(Lola T332) 01:19.376
4. Andrew Higgins (Lola T400) 01:19.886 
5. Russell Greer (Lola T332) 01:21.250
6. Ian Clements (Lola T332) 01:21.959     
7. David Banks (Talon MR1) 01:22.048
8. Aaron Burson  (McRae GM1) 01:22.734
9. Dave Arrowsmith (Lotus 70) 01:22.744 
10. Glenn Richards (Lola T400) 01:23.607
11. Peter Burson (McRae GM1) 01:24.037
12. Frank Lyons  (Lola T430) 01:24.303
13. Tim Rush (McLaren M22) 01:25.330
14. Judy Lyons (Lola T332) 02:13.701  

Race 1 (Sat 8 laps)
1. Michael Lyons 11:44.076  
2. Steve Ross +02.978  
3. Andrew Higgins +05.899  
4. Tony Richards +07.836  
5. Russell Greer +08.650  
6. Aaron Burson +10.336 
7. David Banks +10.629 
8. Ian Clements +11.132  
9. Frank Lyons +15.609  
10. Glenn Richards +16.245  
11. Tim Rush +16.973  
12. Peter Burson +17.536  
DNF. Dave Arrowsmith, Judy Lyons
Fastest lap (and new class lap record) Michael Lyons (Gurney-Eagle FA74) 01:17.723 2013/14 MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival 

Series points after Rnd 3 of 4
Overall:

1. Andrew Higgins (Lola T400) 332 points
2. Michael Lyons (Lola T400) 248
3. Brett Willis (Lola T330) 206
4. Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) 202
5. Frank Lyons (Gurney-Eagle FA74) 185
6=. Peter Burson (McRae GM1) 173
6=. Ian Clements (Lola T332) 173
8. Sefton Gibb (Lola T332) 163
9. Calven Bonney (Begg 018) 154
10. Glenn Richards (Lola T400) 141
11. Ken Smith (Lola T332) 125
12. Roger Williams (Lola T332) 104
13. Clark Proctor (March 73A) 95
14. Tony Richards (Lola T332) 93
15. Greg Thornton (March 75A) 80
16. Alastair Russell (McRae GM1) 76
17=. Russell Greer (Lola T332) 62
17=. David Banks (Talon MR1) 62
19. Mike Whatley (Surtees TS8) 52
20. Judy Lyons (Lola T332) 44
21. Warwick Mortimer( Surtees TS5) 32
22. Alan Dunkley (Lola T140) 21
23. Grant Martin (Talon MR1A) 18
24. Tim Rush (McLaren M22) 1
 
Class A:
1. Mike Whatley (Surtees TS8) 64
2. Warwick Mortimer (Surtees TS5) 62
3. Alan Dunkley (Lola T140) 32