Peter Ward leads as NZ V8 Ute championship heads to Taupo
As we approach the pointy end of season for the RYCO 24•7 V8 Utes, the championship is still wide open. While Peter Ward goes into the Round Three this weekend at Taupo International Motorsport Park with a handy 44-point lead, all it would take is a couple of race wins for Brad Kroef or Shane Dias to knock him off his perch.
After working tirelessly to eliminate a few engine gremlins, aircraft mechanic Shane Dias is flying in the TimberWorld Holden. An overtaking master-class in Round Two saw him slice through the field from last to first in the day’s second race, now Shane is looking for greater consistency. In the post race interview he admitted, “Just got a bit too excited, made a few too many mistakes trying to push a bit too hard. Hopefully we can come back for the next round and be a bit better.”
Another big mover is David ‘Shaggy’ Lowe. Driving the RYCO24•7 category’s Holden VE ute, Shaggy stormed to his first championship podium at Pukekohe in early March. Peter Ward – who knows how to block a challenger to retain track position – acknowledged in the post race interviews, “Shaggy put up an epic battle. I was slowing him down in the hairpin, and then he passed me and I thought, who taught him that?” Shaggy will be one to watch in Taupo.
Father and son team Greg and Brad Kroef have also stepped it up, with the tuning of their utes now in the hands of Vince Gee – part of Paul Manuell’s championship-winning crew last year.
Meanwhile Phil Ross is back in the Total Oil Holden after his cousin Nick relished the opportunity to drive the ute in the last round. “Bit of a learning curve, but had a huge amount of fun out there. I think I might be starting to get the hang of it now,” Nick recalled post-race.
The packed RYCO 247 V8 Utes program at Taupo event kicks off on Saturday March 26th with practice at 9.10am followed by qualifying at 12 midday. Race 1 is scheduled for 3.54pm in the afternoon. Then on Sunday morning, the reverse-grid Race 2 is at 10.25am, and Race 3 in the afternoon at 3.09pm .