Cambridge driver Nick Ross qualified with a very competitive pace for the opening race at the second round of the NZV8s held at Timaru International Motor Raceway at the weekend.
It was a very positive sign for Ross who drove the brand new Total Lubricants Holden Commodore to a mere six-100ths of a second off the pace of pole sitter Australian Jason Bargwanna a regular V8 Supercar driver.
"Well Jason has at this stage a bit more of a handle on the new generation cars, he says the handling of these purpose built race cars is very close to the V8 Supercars he usually drives." said Ross.
Starting from third on the grid in the first race of the weekend Ross managed to pass Hamilton's Martin Short taking second place behind Bargwanna and catching. Halfway through the race however the Holden encountered a mechanical issue and Ross was forced to pit the car with the first issue in four races for the new racecar.
The second race of the weekend brought more heart ache when during the warm up lap prior to the start the car became stuck in fourth gear.
"I was just coming up to the lights when it happened so I went straight into the pits where the guys found a linkage bolt had broken." said Ross.
The Concept Motorsport team urgently replaced the piece while the race got underway and Ross left the pits three laps behind the leaders.
However with some brilliant driving Ross set a new lap record for the New Generation NZV8s on the Timaru circuit of 1:04.697 a full three tenths quicker than the others.
"It shows we are catching up and starting to get a handle on the new car and how to get some good laps out of it." said Ross.
Unfortunately Bargwanna set an even faster lap that afternoon taking the lap record off Ross in the final race.
In race three Ross grabbed a great standing-start and was running in second place behind Bargwanna. This race featured a pitstop and here Ross was able to get ahead of the Australian.
"We got a really good start and were able to make up heaps of ground on Jason coming into the pits. They were a little quicker than us at the stop but ran into some issue and we got ahead of them."
"Unfortunately Short was then able to jump us when he took his stop in the following lap." said Ross.
Ross then found himself in second place six or seven seconds behind Short but catching him.
However the race was then cut short by four laps preventing Ross from a chance at battling Short for the win with the gap down to just three seconds and closing.
The next round of the NZV8s Premiere Race Championship Series 2013 takes place at Manfeild Park in Feilding over the weekend of February 8-10th.
The NZV8s have a 20 minute practice session on Friday along with corporate rides. On Saturday there is a 40 minute session with qualification and the first race. Race two and three take place on the Sunday.
R1 - DNF - mechanical
R2 - 1:04.697 Ross - new lap record
R3 - placed second behind Martin Short
MSNZ Race Championship calendar:
Round 1: January 12-13, Teretonga
Round 2: January 19-20, Timaru
Round 3: February 9-10, Manfeild
Round 4: March 9-10, Taupo
Round 5: April 12-14, Pukekohe (V8 Supercars meeting)