Big win for Pedersons and Giltrap in Highlands
Ant Pederson, Paul Pederson and young gun Marco Giltrap came home inaugural winners of the Highlands 6 Hour on Sunday – taking the chequered flag in a gruelling 10th anniversary race that boasted a thriller of a final hour.
The big race itself proved to be almost incident free, but the one time the Safety Car did come out deep into the final hour for Luke Manson’s stranded Porsche, it set up and absolute thriller of a finish with Shane Van Gisbergen, Ant Pederson, Andrew Waite and Jonny Reid line astern with twenty minutes to go.
Try as he might and using every trick in his considerable book of skills, van Gisbergen couldn’t overcome a gamble on a double stint for his final set of tyres and had to relinquish the lead to Pederson, who was quickly followed through by Waite and Reid.
Once by Pederson got the hammer down and eventually built up a lead of a few car lengths over circuit specialist Waite. It got super close in the final few minutes but Pederson had enough in hand in his Mercedes AMG Gt3 and came home ahead of Waite and Reid for the big win.
Though he couldn’t take out the feature race in the fearsome Brabham, there was some consolation for Van Gisbergen who raced home to a remarkable four wins out of four on his debut in the Aussie Race Cars series.
Elsewhere Danny Stutterd has won Saturday afternoon’s Highlands 10th Anniversary 1-Hour Enduro in a Marc (IRC) GT machine. It was the first major victory for this type of car in New Zealand.
The NAPA Central muscle cars provided their own special blend nostalgia and speed over the weekend too adding more historical flare to a big weekend for Cromwell owner Tony Quinn and his team.
The weather held off for the impressive crowd at what was the longest race for this type of GT cars ever in New Zealand and the ultimate test of drivers, car, mechanics and strategists.
Two packed days of action and entertainment also saw Cromwell local win the keys to one of the most famous Lamborghini Huracans in New Zealand – the former pace car at sister circuits Hampton Downs and Taupo.
Ivan Fahey is a Cromwell local and in the early days of Highlands volunteered his time at race events driving the circuit bus. Getting his weekend p0ass early paid big dividends when he was drawn as the winner of the iconic supercar.