Simon Evans has won the opening race of the weekend at round four of the BNT NZ Touring Car Championship at Teretonga this afternoon.
Evans started the race from pole, with just 0.069 of a second in qualifying separating Evans, Nick Ross and Jason Bargwanna.
With conditions cool at the circuit just outside of Invercargill, Evans lead the 12-lap encounter largely unchallenged, with a large portion of the race run under safety car to retrieve the stricken Holden Commodore of Lance Hughes who went off track on lap one.
Following Evans to the line was Nick Ross in his Nissan Altima, and Jason Bargwanna in his Toyota Camry in third.
“The track has been quite ‘grippy’ especially as it’s not particularly warm here this weekend. I knew it was going to be really tight between Nick Ross and myself, I just held position through the first turn, and then on the restart just made sure I got away cleanly again,” said Evans.
“We start off second for tomorrows race, based off my second fastest qualifying time from this morning.”
“There seems to be grip the whole way around the circuit, meaning there is no reason you can’t hang out on the outside of a corner and make a pass. Especially through turn one.”
“If it rains tomorrow, I think it will be a very level playing field for everyone.”
In class two, local driver Liam MacDonald took the win from Brad Lathrope and Simon Fleming.
Leading class two by a healthy points margin, MacDonald claimed his eighth win of the season at what is his home track.
Starting from second place on the grid, MacDonald battled with fellow Southlander Jamie Conroy into turn one, and held the lead from the safety car restart until the chequered flag.
“I got Jamie at the start and held it through turn one, then after the safety car restart I got bit of a lead, then just managed it for the rest of the race,” said MacDonald.
“The track has heaps of grip this weekend. We’ve made a change to the car this weekend that we normally wouldn’t just because the track has so much grip.”
“It should be pretty exciting tomorrow for the crowd if there is a bit of rain, it’ll make it exciting up the front.”