Another podium for McIntyre at Manfeild's V8SuperTourers; Richards shows greater pace
John McIntyre scored his third straight feature race podium finish as the V8SuperTourers wrapped up their first event at Manfeild Autocourse in Feilding on 29 April.
The Nelson-based V8 race champion was just one corner away from tackling eventual race winner Greg Murphy and had to settle for second. The podium finish added to a challenging seventh place in race two puts McIntyre in second on the sprint championship points-table with one round to go at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park in early June.
"Murph pushed hard from early on," says McIntyre who started the final race of the weekend, a 30-lapper, third on the grid. "Our team planned for me to take it a bit easier – we were all on the wet-spec Hankook tyres but the track was virtually dry within ten laps."
McIntyre passed Jonny Reid and Andy Knight in the opening seven laps, but was more than six seconds adrift of Murphy by the race's halfway point.
"We'd worked out the time needed to catch Murph, but in the end it came down to a battle of tyre strategy and Murph judged it just that little bit better. To be the only driver to have finished on the podium of the feature race at all three rounds is a credit to the whole crew at JMR."
In the weekend's second race, McIntyre acknowledged some errors as he started in second behind Reid, Saturday's race winner. "Jonny was on new tyres, ours weren't and I ended up running wide at turn one. Then there was a clash with Eddie Bell which left the #47 Talley's Ford not steering properly so I was lucky finish seventh after the race was red-flagged and restarted due to Colin Corkery's crash. Basically it was all about trying to make the best of a bad situation!"
McIntyre was delighted to see his team-mate at John McIntyre Racing, Steven Richards, among or very close to the top five all weekend.
"It's fantastic that Steve and the CRC JMR Falcon have secured the stronger results they deserve this weekend," says McIntyre. "Both JMR cars have had good pace this weekend and the whole team's been working really hard. It certainly helps keep our momentum going as we head to Hampton Downs for the final round of the inaugural V8SuperTourer sprint championship."
Melbourne-based expat Kiwi Steve Richards was in the thick of an exciting battle with Andy Knight and Murphy during the red flag-interrupted second race, eventually being pipped for third by Murphy. In the feature race, Richards started from fifth and finished sixth to improve to eighth position on the championship points-table.
"The CRC Ford has been a good car all weekend and we've been working on what we learned here at Manfeild yesterday," says Richards, a two-time Bathurst winner.
"We can be encouraged by having the third-quickest time in the feature race. However the wets fell out quicker than we hoped – the reality is that no one tests in the wet on wet tyres, so you're learning as you race in this situation.
"Overall we're really pleased to have been fighting closer to the front and it's great for CRC and for new sponsor Norwoods Farm Machinery.
"We head to Hampton Downs in June with the cars being 180 degrees different in their setup from when we were last there in February and that's going to put us on a strong footing from the outset."
The final round of the V8SuperTourers sprint championship takes place at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park midway between Auckland and Hamilton over the weekend of 2 to 4 June (Queen's Birthday weekend).
V8SuperTourers Round 3, Manfeild, Feilding
Race two – 25 laps (top ten)
Pos, Name, Hometown, Car, Laps, Total time
1, Jonny Reid, Auckland, Ford Falcon FG, 32:32.358
2, Andy Knight, Christchurch, Ford Falcon FG, 32:33.849
3, Greg Murphy, Melbourne, Holden Commodore VE, 32:34.102
4, Steven Richards, Melbourne, Ford Falcon FG, 32:34.537
5, Andy Booth, Auckland, Holden Commodore VE, 32:35.371
6, Ant Pedersen, Auckland, Ford Falcon FG, 32:35.899
7, John McIntyre, Nelson, Ford Falcon FG, 32:38.314
8, Andre Heimgartner, Auckland, Holden Commodore VE, 32:42.219
9, Craig Baird, Gold Coast, Ford Falcon FG, 32:43.466
10, Kayne Scott, Hamilton, Holden Commodore VE, 32:43.711
Race three – 30 laps (top ten)
Pos, Name, Hometown, Car, Laps, Total time
1, Greg Murphy, Melbourne, Holden Commodore VE, 36:47.994
2, John McIntyre, Nelson, Ford Falcon FG, 36:48.210
3, Richard Moore, Christchurch, Holden Commodore VE, 36:49.816
4, Paul Manuell, Pukekohe, Holden Commodore VE, 36:53.817
5, Jonny Reid, Auckland, Ford Falcon FG, 37:00.954
6, Steven Richards, Melbourne, Ford Falcon FG, 37:09.166
7, Kayne Scott, Hamilton, Holden Commodore VE, 37:09.636
8, Craig Baird, Gold Coast, Ford Falcon FG, 37:11.582
9, Ant Pedersen, Auckland, Ford Falcon FG, 37:17.507
10, Andy Knight, Christchurch, Ford Falcon FG, 37:27.786
V8SuperTourers sprint championship points after round three
1, Jonny Reid, 1626
2, John McIntyre, 1538
3, Greg Murphy, 1264
4, Kayne Scott, 1252
5, Ant Pedersen, 1240
6, Craig Baird, 1153
7, Andy Booth, 1038
8, Steven Richards, 1030
9, Eddie Bell, 883
10, Andy Knight, 860