Fillmore and Reid unbeatable in South Island Endurance Series round at Invercargill
Despite having to serve a drive-through penalty within the first 15-minutes of the second round of the 2023 Carter’s Tyre Service Three-Hour South Island Endurance Series for a pit crew infringement, Sam Fillmore and Jonny Reid have secured their second consecutive win at Teretonga Park in Invercargill. The victory also sees them provisionally crowned 2023 New Zealand Endurance Champions for a second time.
“We couldn’t be happier,” commented Fillmore. “It’s been a real team effort and I can’t thank them enough. The safety car periods seem to work well for us and it all came together.”
Starting off in dry conditions, imminent rain that lasted for the remainder of the race, brought with it opportunities for their rivals with a number of cars throughout the field, slipping off the track.
Steve Brooks (Audi R8 GT3) took over the lead with Hayden Knighton (Mercedes-AMG GT3), Paul Pedersen (Mercedes-AMG GT3) and Heremana Malmezac (Porsche GT3R 991.2) not far behind and Fillmore making up time after his drive-through penalty.
Rain initially fell at Turn 8 just before the one-hour mark, catching out Knighton who at the time was leading from Brooks on a dry track. Bree Morris (Mercedes AMG GT4) was soon after also caught out, sliding into the kitty-litter bringing out a safety car resulting in many teams pitting for wet tyres.
More pitstops ensued around the hallway mark with compulsory driver changes and Jonny Reid, having taken over from Fillmore, taking the lead he wouldn’t relinquish until the checkered flag.
It would become a battle for the remaining podium positions. Andrew Waite, co-driving for Steve Brooks and filling in for Bill Riding, unfortunately dropped four laps down after sliding off the track. Jono Lester had taken over from Malmezac and worked his way into second with Ant Pedersen/Paul Pedersen third and Kane Lawson/Hayden Knighton fourth, all eventually finishing in that order. Lawson and Knighton now lead the Michelin AM Cup standings from Glenn Smith/John De Veth (McLaren 650S GT3) who finished in seventh.
Top Class 2 (GT Type) car home and sixth overall was the Hugh Gardiner/Matt Spratt Porsche GT3 Cup 991.2 who are tied on points with Martin Dippie/John Penny (Porsche GT3 Cup 992) for the Class title.
Christina Orr-West and Bree Morris (Mercedes Benz AMG GT4) were first in Class 3 (>3501cc) and now have an 80-point lead over David Rogers (McLaren 570s GT4) who finished in eleventh.
Grant Moore/Matthew Moore (Toyota Altezza) managed to keep the car on track finishing first in Class 4 (2001-3500cc) which they continue to lead.
While Fillmore and Reid have a 14-point lead over the Pedersen’s in both the overall and Class 1 categories, with a maximum of 90-points available at the final round all is not lost. Also within striking distance are Brooks, Knighton/Lawson, Malmezac/Lester and Smith/De Veth. Class titles will also be decided as the final round of the 2023 Carter’s Tyre Service South Island Endurance Series which takes place at the Timaru International Raceway, Timaru, on Saturday 14 October 2023.