Pedersen wins close tussle in Ruapuna 3 Hour Enduro

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The Auckland pairing of Andrew Bagnall/Ant Pedersen (Porsche GT3) were clear winners of the ASKO 3 Hour Endurance Series second round at the Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Christchruch over the weekend. In what was a repeat result of the first round a fortnight ago in Invercargill, the Paul Kelly/Craig Baird Porsche GT3 came in second after fighting with the Bagnall/Pedersen entry until the last 20 minutes of the race.

Third home was the Matthew Carter/Dwayne Carter V8 Supercar Ford Falcon which dominated the first half of the race, leading until their first pitstop halfway through the race.

“The strategy was to put as much of a gap between us and the quick Porsches before we pitted,” commented Dwayne Carter. “We’re not entirely happy with third but that was all we were going to get today.”

It was at this point that the two top Porsche drivers took command of the race with Super Black Racing V8 Supercar driver Ant Pedersen against the winningest Porsche driver in the world Craig Baird. Baird led until just after the two hour mark when Pedersen put in the fastest lap of the race, passing at the end of the front straight.

Baird responded closing the gap at one stage down to 0.349 sec and putting in a quicker lap. However after 2 hours and 40 minutes of racing Pedersen responded breaking Baird’s fastest lap and after completing 114 laps, eventually winning by 17 seconds.

“Andrew (Bagnall) did a great job,” commented Pedersen. “It made it easier for me once I jumped in. Craig (Baird) was pushing real hard, but we held out and the tyres were strong at the end.”

“We knew that we weren’t going to beat them unless they had dramas,” commented Baird. “Their car was always going to be quicker.”

An impressive race from Southland’s Inky Tulloch/Grant Aitken saw the new Chev Camaro GT3 home in fourth followed by Allan Dippie/Scott O’Donnell (Porsche GT3), Robin Gray/Jono Lester (Ferrari F430), John De Veth/Glen Smith (SuperTourer Prototype) and Lindsay O’Donnell/Phil Mauger (Porsche GT3) in eighth.

While the Bagnall/Pedersen pair won the GT Class, the Mazda RX7 of Hamish Frew/Darryl Barrett finished ninth overall and were the first Class 1 car ahead of the BA Ford Falcon of Perry Scarfe/Nick Ross.

Class 2 winners in the first round, Guy Stewart/Mike Driver (Seat Leon Supercopa) repeated their win (11th overall) as did the Garry Cliff/Hayden Knighton pair (Honda Civic Mugen Type R) winning Class 3/4 (13th overall).

In fine warm conditions 28 starters took to the grid with nine eventually retiring. Notable retirements included the Chev Corvette C6R of David Garden/Bruce Davidson. After reaching a comfortable second overall around the halfway mark a drive belt let go causing an oil spill and eventual retirement. The very quick Toyota GT 86 of Craig McDermid/Scott McDermid retired after completing 36 laps while winners of Class 1 at Teretonga, Graeme Rhodes/Paul Rickerby retired with less than 30 minutes remaining and sitting in 9th position.

The ASKO Endurance Series now moves to Timaru International Raceway, Levels, Timaru on 18 October where the overall 3 Hour Series champion will be awarded the South Canterbury Toyota Cup as well as the New Zealand Endurance Championship title

Pedersen wins close tussle in Ruapuna 3 Hour Enduro

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