Martin maintains winning F5000 record at Hampton Downs
In a virtual repeat of his performance at the same meeting a year ago Auckland ace Grant Martin (Talon MR1/A) claimed his second SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series race win of the weekend in the 10-lap feature final at the Historic Racing Club’s annual Legends of Speed meeting at Hampton Downs on Sunday March 27.
Martin was again quick from the get-go this weekend, claiming pole position with the only sub 1:03 time set in the category qualifying session on Saturday morning before literally running away from everyone in the first race of weekend that afternoon to cross the finish line close to half a lap (or 32.618 seconds) in front of fellow Talon man David Banks and his race-long sparring partner, Glenn Richards (Lola T400).
The handicappers didn’t do Martin any favours in the second, full reverse grid rolling start, race of the weekend on Sunday morning – he ended up 3rd – but as he said after the 10-lap final feature.
“Because it’s been 12 months since I last raced – anything!- it’s taken me a while to get back ‘in the groove.’ Today it felt like everything had clicked back into place and that it was actually me driving it, rather than it driving me.”
With a clear track in front of him in the feature final Martin simply pinned his ears back and went for it to head Tony Galbraith by 11.767 seconds at flag fall.
In third and fourth places and separated by just 0:047 of a second at the finish line, meanwhile, were father & son David & Codie Banks.
Earlier in the day the category’s handicap race was won by local man Tony Galbraith (Lola T332) from the fast-finishing Talons of David Banks and Grant Martin.
Fourth, after grabbing an early lead off fellow front row starter Toby Annabell (McLaren M10B) on the first lap then hanging onto it tenaciously for the next four (laps) was category new face, Alastair Chalmers (Chevron B32).
Chalmers could hardly have wished for a better series debut, qualifying with a conservative 1:09.425 before going progressively quicker and quicker until he signed off with a very respectable 1:05.271 in Sunday’s feature final.
In fifth was Tony Roberts in his ex-Kip Ackerman (South African series) McLaren M10B leading home the similar Class A era McLarens of Frank Karl and Toby Annabell.
Unfortunately, out before the race proper even got underway, was Glenn Richards, who spun his Lola T400 into the tyre barriers exiting the hairpin, ripping off the car’s right rear wheel in the process.
Meanwhile despite only seven cars actually making the rolling start the first 8-lap race of the weekend on Saturday 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.”
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.
The SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Serries 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.