Mt smart. Round3
Originally, D1NZ had planned for round3 to be at the same location as 2009’s final round, Ports of Whangarei. Unfortunately, the logistics behind getting the permits and correct barriers up north, plus the costs in fixing the surface were going to be too great. This meant a change of venue, and I don’t think they could have found a better spot than Mt Smart Stadium, right in central Auckland. The course was a tight 2nd/3rd gear section with outside clipping points on concrete barriers, setup on the tarmac pad that used to be home to the Supertop (boiler room at BDO).
After struggling the last two rounds to get my rx7 running reliably, I decided to use the s14 (which I am very comfortable with) for this round and focus on driving. The rx7 would be on display and taken out for a few quick demos only as it still had headgasket issues.
With Friday practice, the skies opened up above Auckland and all drivers were a bit down as this was shaping up to be a huge round for crowd turnout, but it was mostly blown away by the weather. Nevertheless, we were all out on track as soon as possible and loving the short course setup.
I was getting into a great flow in practice, consistently tapping the rear clipping point with my bumper and taillight. My spirits were up after my spotter (dad) and one of the judges said I was running some of the most aggressive and clean lines of the day.
Come Saturday, I arrived early and setup my pits with both vehicles and got relaxed. When I’m at these events, I don’t like to have to run around and do everything at the last moment, it’s all about having fun and enjoying as much as you can .Although, as I write later, this isn’t always how it works out… haha.
After a few practice sessions, drivers started lining up for our new 3pass qualifying system. First run through I had a clean run, but nothing spectacular, just enough to get me a spot in top16. On my second run I threw the car as hard as I could into the first clipping zone, but with unknown track condition it was too slippery and I spun. For the final run, I had a warmup lap first to suss out the track condition, then threw it as hard and fast as I could into the first clip, but came up slightly short on the second zone, the rest of the run was at 100% of the cars capability and it felt great.
For lunchtime expression session, I took the rx7 out for a few laps. I can’t wait for the new motor to be in and finally do some competition in it. Even with the blown headgaskets, the car performs extremely well, and the steering lock is insane!
I came back in from the expression session to hear that I had qualified in 4th position! Pretty good, although it definitely wasn’t my best run of the weekend. Mad Mike qualified 1st, Carl Ruiterman 2nd, and Adam Richards 3rd.
My first round battle was against Mac Kwok in his twin turbo v8 silvia, what a monster! We had a great battle, but unfortunately Mac took a spin on his chase run, putting me through to the top8.
Through to the top8, I was up against current series leader Curt Whittaker. I lead in my first run with a 6-4 advantage to me, all I had to do was put down a good chase and clean line and I was through. I entered early on the wall and just after the second clipping point I had caught up to him, but just as we switched back to the infield part of the track, my car cut out and lost power! Felt like it was running on 2 cylinders! What luck! This made me straight line, giving Curt the win.
I went back to the pits, but couldn’t find anything wrong with the car. We had to come straight back out to run our bottom 8 battle, where I was pitted against Josh Coote from Australia. (two foreigners doing battle in New Zealand, strange no?). We both had equally good runs, I shallowed up on my chase and I think he may have done the same. A re-run was called.
I led out for the first run, and josh took a half spin behind me, making it a 10-0 advantage to me. In my chase I didn’t give him an inch though, not backing off just because I had an advantage. But my car would punish me again, just as we switched to the infield my car coughed and was running on two cylinders again, it straightlined and I was given a 0. Rerun, AGAIN! My car had given up the ghost, and I basically just drove the track as there was no power to even accelerate. Josh went through.
My next battle pitted me against Carl Ruiterman, I had no time to try to fix my electrical issue so I forfeited my second run, as I didn’t want Carl to have to push his car against mine while it wasn’t running properly.
The guys at Silver Bullet Productions (SBP NZ) from Whangarei have been attending the last few drift events, and are compiling some really great and in depth video coverage of the events. Here is the video they put together of me from Mt Smart D1NZ Round3.
At the end of the day, I was still out there having fun. Even though we’ve had some extremely bad luck mechanically on both vehicles, those sorts of things happen in racing, and you can’t get mad about them or else you lose sight of what you originally got into motorsport for.
Round4 at Taupo is just around the corner, and the rx7 has a new LS6 engine package built and tuned by Eastern Automotive. I can’t wait to get it back on track and have a reliable, competitive setup. Keep an eye on my blog, as I plan to have regular weekly updates for the rest of the season!
Filed under: Event Reports | Tagged: achilles, achilles radial, alfa, cre8grafx, D1, d1nz, drift, drift max, drifting, eastern automotive, enkei, enkei racing, LS2, mad mike, redward, RX7, saito, tannock, V8 | Leave a comment »