Super sub Fabian Coulthard dominated Race 1 at the second round of the V8 SuperTourers Championship at the Powerbuilt Tools Raceway, Ruapuna Park, this afternoon - leading every lap and staying out of a titanic battle for second that developed behind him.
Three-time NZV8 Champion John McIntyre was on the defensive from the end of lap one with principal challenger Jonny Reid glued to his rear end in the International motorsport Falcon. The two had made slight contact at the start allowing McIntyre to grab second but he was in for a challenging 15 laps as the queue of faster cars formed behind him. If McIntyre was in for a long 15 laps, then it was a lot worse for local boys Andy Knight and Eddie Bell after the two made contact on lap one and ended up at the tail end of the field.
With McIntyre struggling for outright pace, the chain behind grew to include Craig Baird, Scott McLaughlin, Kayne Scott, Ant Pedersen and Andy Booth.
With Coulthard long gone and already in tyre conservation mode, Reid attacked and attacked but could not find a way by McIntyre. Baird and Mclaughlin were also locked in battle which was ultimately resolved when McLaughlin ground to a halt with a mechanical gremlin on lap 13.
McIntyre held on to take a well deserved second place and Reid was satisfied with a third place that propelled him into the series lead. "Fabian was just slipping away and could see the race getting away and that is always frustrating from a driver's perspective.
"Johnny Mac did a fantastic job at defending and I couldn't find a way past and to be honest, I would have defended exactly the same had I been in front of him. The start was a challenge as I had Fabian on the inside and he was always going to come out ahead so I backed off trying to get in behind and Johnny Mac made contact with me almost putting me off the track, so I was lucky to make Turn 1. I'll be back on the inside tomorrow so I'm looking forward to that.
For Coulthard it was a dream debut in the series in a car that is clearly working well after development from the M3 racing team and lead driver Greg Murphy. "I did what I had to do. I took the inside line into Turn 1 and then I could dictate the race. I saw all the boys behind me having a battle and it did make my job very easy. Having said that I'm sure it will be tougher tomorrow."
Baird ultimately could not find a way by despite some audacious attempts and finished fourth, followed by Ant Pedersen, Kayne Scott, Andy Booth, Andre Heimgartner, Geoff Emery and Richard Moore, who started sixth but was the victim of some contact on lap one and fell down the order.