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F5000 drivers turn up the heat as they revel in racing return

After a largely frustrating 12 months in which three of the four race meetings due to host rounds of the 2021/22 SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series were either cancelled outright or postponed, the drivers who made it to Hampton Downs today for the ‘opening round’ of a re-jigged 21/22 season, were in no mood to hang back.

Despite only seven cars actually making the rolling start the first 8-lap race of the weekend certainly didn’t lack for entertainment.

Out front, for instance, fastest qualifier Grant Martin (Talon MR1A) literally rocketed away from the rolling start to cross the finish line 8 laps later with a lead of over half a minute (32.618 seconds) over David Banks in his Talon MR1 with Glenn Richards – just – pipped at the post (the margin 0.069) in third behind the wheel of his Lola T400.

Both men admitted afterwards that by playing their cat and mouse games, they ’definitely slowed each other down,’ and ‘yep in doing so we probably let Grant (Martin) get away from us.’

“But” said Banks, “would I do it the same again?

“Hell yes! Because those have got to be some of the best laps I think I’ve ever done in that car.”

Fourth across the line, after an absolute blinder of a race, was Frank Karl in the first of the category’s three Class A McLaren M10Bs.

Tony Roberts was able to match Karl’s pace early on only to be slowed and eventual side-lined by a gear selection issue.

Very happy to be making progress, meanwhile, was category new-face Alastair Chalmers who emigrated to New Zealand in 2015 and late last year acquired the ex-Karl Zohs’ Chevron B32 Formula 5000 single-seater.

Chalmers admitted to a ‘steady-as-she-goes’ approach to his first race only to show some real tiger as he stalked and eventually caught and passed the McLaren M10B of second season racer Toby Annabell for P5.

SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series action continues at Hampton Downs tomorrow (Sunday) with a handicap race in morning and a final feature race later in the day.

The SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series is organised and run with the support of sponsors SAS Autoparts, MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney’s Specialised Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Pacifica, Avon Tyres, Webdesign and Exide Batteries.

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