Wet or dry, it didn’t seem to matter to Wifiplus KZ2 class star Dylan Drysdale at the third round of this year’s Molecule ProKart Series at Rotorua over the weekend.
Single-digit temperatures and driving rain on Saturday, and chilly but dry air and track conditions on Sunday made it doubly hard for drivers to set up then race their karts at Rotorua International Raceway high in the Mamaku Ranges west of the city. But young gun Drysdale – who won the KZ2 class title at the recent New Zealand National Sprint championship meeting in Invercargill – took them in his stride.
The Palmerston North-born but now Auckland-based teen qualified on pole on Saturday morning then claimed the first of his two heat wins in the afternoon. He then finished second to Aucklander Mat Kinsman in the second heat before storming through the field to set the fastest lap on his way to fourth place in the third – in the dry this time – on Sunday morning.
That set him up for the Pre Final – which he won from Mat Kinsman, Josh Hart and fellow young gun Taylor Harte from Tauranga – and the Final, which he won from multi-time class title winner and Rotorua track outright lap record holder Ryan Gant from Auckland, with Hart third, Kinsman fourth and Grant’s teammate Graeme Smyth fifth.
The result was that Drysdale has now leapt from sixth to equal third (with Ryan Grant) in the series’ point standings and crosses the Tasman this week to contest the third round of the 2017 Australian Kart Championships with the best possible build up.
Former points leader Ryan Grant struggled in the wet, cold track conditions of Saturday and the series’ standings in the Wifiplus KZ2 class are now led by Mat Kinsman by one points from fellow Aucklander Aaron Wilson with Drysdale and Grant tied a further point back in third.
Former rally ace Andrew Hunt also made light of the weather and track conditions to dominate the combined KZ2 Masters/KZ2 Restricted class races. After qualifying quickest Hunt was unstoppable, winning all five class races to further extend his lead in the series’ points standings in the Masters class.
Tim Loughran from the Hawke’s Bay ended up best of the rest from Aucklanders Enrico van der Griend and Brett Hollander, and former speedway ace Graeme Lambert from Mangakino.
Long-time KZ2 Restricted class pace-setter and two-time series’ class winner Garry Cullum finally met his match, meanwhile, at Rotorua, with Wellington pair Jamie Pollock and Shaun Anderson both quicker in qualifying and Auckland driver Regan Hall claiming the round win.
Cullum still finished second overall, however, despite striking problems in the final heat which saw him credited with eighth place, seven laps down. He still leads the series’ points standings in his class too. Hall proved he is beatable though and as the numbers in the class continue to grow as they have this year Cullum has his work cut out staying in front.
Molecule ProKart Series’ competitors now have a stand-alone round at Auckland’s Giltrap Group Raceway in late July before again pairing up with the Giltrap Group NZ Rotax Max Challenge series for a combined final round in Hamilton in August.
1. Dylan Drysdale; 2. Mat Kinsman; 3. Taylor Harte; 4. Josh Hart; 5=Aaron Wilson & Bradley Hicks
Series points after Rnd 3 of 5
1. Mat Kinsman 259 points; 2. Aaron Wilson 258; 3=. Dylan Drysdale & Ryan Grant 257; 5. Rhys Tinney 242; 6. Jordan Morris 239
Aarque Group KZ2 Masters
1. Andrew Hunt; 2.Tim Loughran; 3. Enrico van der Griend; 4. Brett Hollander; 5. Graeme Lambert; 6. John Enticott
Series points after Rnd 3 of 5
1. Andrew Hunt 274 points; 2. Tim Loughran 259; 3. Enrico van der Griend 256; 4. Brett Hollander 250; 5=. Graeme Lambert & Darren Aislabie 247
Aarque Group KZ2 Restricted
1. Regan Hall; 2. Garry Cullum; 3. Aaron Wooley; 4. Jamie Pollock; 5. Shaun Curran; 6. Gerhard Benadie
Points after Rnd 3 of 5
1. Garry Cullum 270 points; 2. Regan Hall 264; 3. Aaron Wooley 258; 4. Gerhard Benadie 256; 5. Shaun Anderson 254; 6. Jamie Pollock 251