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Banks takes Phillip Island Formula 5000 GP title

Auckland’s Codie Banks clean-swept the field of F5000 cars to secure the inaugural Phillip Island Formula 5000 GP title today, concluding the 2024 SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series.

Contesting five races at the Southern Hemisphere’s largest historic festival of motorsport, Banks shot to the top of the 18-car F5000 field during Friday’s qualifying. Converting that into successive race wins ensured the target on his back remained as the rest of the field, including nine other Kiwi teams, took aim at securing a win for themselves.

With two races scheduled for the Sunday, the morning five lap race was abandoned. As the field headed into the first lap, race leader Codie Banks was met by red flags for an incident after turn nine – Lukey Heights. The car of a class outsider got mixed in a three-way F5000 group, resulting in multi-car contact while the rest of the following field took evasive action.

Returning to the pits in preparation for the afternoon eight-lap Formula 5000 GP it was again Codie Banks who led the field from the lights, however that didn’t last long.

“I got drag raced by my father at the start who overtook me and led me into turn one,” he said.

Banks junior re-took the position on the second lap, the pair heading for a Kiwi 1-2 until mid-race when Banks senior parked again with overheating issues. A repeat of Saturday’s stoppage, the team had worked hard at replacing parts in the hope of combating the +30degC ambient temperature that taxed the Talon’s cooling system.

“It was the hottest conditions I’ve ever raced in – with the track again over 50degC,” added Banks.

“The tyres were starting to go so I had to button off and nurse them to the finish.”

Chasing for that opportunity to beat the flying Kiwi, Victoria’s Darcy Russell (Lola T330) finished second, 1.7sec behind. Third was the Chevron B24 of Victoria’s Frank Harris – who was over the moon with his result. Next best Kiwi was the A category car of Grant Clearwater (McLaren M10A) in fifth. All four of the Kiwi A cars finished the race.

“It’s been a bloody good day,” continued Banks, who was then awarded the Kevin Bartlett trophy by the man himself – the original owner of the car Banks now races.

“To get the shake from Kevin – that was awesome. He said I did the car proud.”

Banks was then awarded the Jack Brabham driver of the meeting award.

Of the 12 starters nine finished. Bruce Kett (Lola T332) spun on the fifth lap and was unable to restart. The Chevron B32 (#75-01) of Alistair Chalmers had an electrical fault on his fourth lap.

As the teams packed out in the mid 30degC Victorian weather many of them are now heading for the Australian Grand Prix – 21-24 March where a group will make a supporting appearance.

The SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series continues to be supported by SAS Autoparts, MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney’s Specialised Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Avon Tyres, Webdesign, Exide Batteries and Pacifica Shipping – who sea freight the cars for the New Zealand events.

You can follow the series on Facebook at F5000 New Zealand or via the official website www.f5000.co.nz.

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