Christina Orr returns to the BNT V8s this weekend and the sole female contender in Motorsport New Zealand's top Premier Championship category is filled with confidence.
The Whakatane driver is very much looking forward to the Manawatu event due to both her love of the circuit plus a very fruitful testing session in the Commodore leading up to this round. With some handling issues laid to rest Orr is feeling good about the car and can return to her natural smooth driving style.
"I'm really looking forward to it and loved getting back in the car when we were testing. Kayne Scott was there and gave me some one on one which I really appreciated. With his help we managed to get the car handling pretty sweet again. Andrew Anderson also helped me prior to the season and I'm a bit worried that if I pass those guys they're not going to help me again!" she said.
The test was so fruitful in fact that Orr will have to completely renew her approach to the way she tackles the weekend with a vastly improved car beneath her.
"I will have to change my driving style from when I first started in the BNT V8s. I was having to drive the car very aggressively just to get some decent speed out of it but I tried doing that after we made the changes and the car jumped up and bit me sending me into the sand trap!"
"Now the car is handling so well I can return to my usual driving style of being smooth so I'm really happy about that." she said.
At Manfeild last year Orr was in her BNT V8s rookie season but still proved to be right on the money in terms of pace by being just a few tenths of a second off the Top 10 lap times.
Had it not been for the mistakes of others and being knocked off the circuit in two races she most likely would have recorded some very promising race finishes.
"I was doing really well there last year and even got past Paul Manuell down the back straight in his Holden but I was then knocked off in the corner. Then in the last race another driver cut the corner and grass and drove straight into the back of me." said Orr.
"Last year the car came back with more paint from other cars on it. Also I was hoping to get a top three in the final race but was taken out early on; but even so I love the track and look forward to getting back there again." she said.
Orr and her team opted to compete only the North Island rounds of the BNT V8s for this her second season in the V8 Holden Commodore. That makes Manfeild just her second round of the season with some real nailbiters yet to come with the final round in April expected to be especially exciting.
After this weekend the troops of the BNT V8s head to Taupo Motorsport Park in March where last season the final round was held. This season however with the number of championship rounds being increased from six to seven the final will be competed at the Hamilton street race.
This means that it will all come down to the wire at New Zealand's largest motorsport event of the year the ITM 400 where the nation's top level motorsport competition will battle in front of their Australian counterparts the V8 Supercars.