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Manson and Gilchrist clinch class wins GT New Zealand Championship at Highlands

Luke Manson has taken a hard fought win in the Open Class of the Summerset GT New Zealand Championship at Highlands Motorsport Park at Cromwell this afternoon aboard his Porsche, while Brock Gilchrist in a McLaren 570S has taken victory in the GT4 class.

The Open Class Podium was rounded out with the Porsche’s of Sam Filmore in second, with Championship leader, Rick Armstrong in third.

The GT4 podium saw the Porsche Cayman of Tony Quinn and Kynan Yu finish second, with the Mercedes AMG GT4 of James Sax coming home in third.

Off the start of the one hour feature race, pole sitter Rick Armstrong was passed by the AMG GT2 of Paul Pedersen who made a bold move around the outside around the outside into the first corner, to take the lead, with Luke Manson slotting into P3

A small mistake for Pedersen into the approach to the bridge, bunched up leading four, which allowed Joel Giddy to move into P3 passing Manson.

Giddy then getting past Armstrong and into P2 on the start of lap four.

Meanwhile, Sam Filmore was moving his way up the field, and into P6 having started at back of the field, having missed qualifying with a gearbox issue.

Back in GT4, the McLaren of Brock Gilchrist had established a five-second lead over the Porsche Cayman of Tony Quinn.

At the 20-minute mark, the pitstop window opened, and the first of the front runners dived into the pits to get their stops out of the way.

The GT4’s of Gilchrist, and James Sax pitted, along with the Open Class front runners, Armstrong, Manson and leader Pedersen.

There was a wild moment for the Porsche of Robert Dong who found his way into gravel at entrance to bridge. Lucky to avoid barriers and re-join the race.

There was a huge moment for the Ginetta of Steve Scoles and the AMG of Paul Pedersen on the front straight. Pedersen lapping through traffic, and making light contact with Scoles. Scoles spinning to the infield. Pedersen earning a pit lane drive through penalty for his involvement.

A safety car was called on lap 23, to retrieve the stricken Porsche of Paul Southam who went off track at the hairpin and ended up in the gravel. This bunching up the field.

After a handful of laps behind the safety car, the race restarted, and there was a further big moment for the Ginetta of Allan Sargeant who spun out of the last corner, thankfully onto the infield, and not the outside wall.

From the restart Manson skipped away to lead the field by five seconds, while Filmore and Giddy battled for second behind.

In GT4, Gilchrist found himself on the tail of Kynan Yu, who was class leader. Gilchrist, making his move into the lead on lap 28, with battle for second and third heating up between Yu and Sax.

With the flag falling, Manson took the win, Filmore second, but Giddy was given a five second penalty for crossing the pit exit blend line, which relegated him to fourth position, and just off the podium. Armstrong grabbing third.

The GT4, it was Gilchrist, followed by Yu, with Sax third.

The Summerset GT New Zealand Championship have two 30-minute races tomorrow.

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