The final round of the ENEOS North Island Endurance Series takes place this Saturday, and it’s all to play for at the top of both the ENEOS One Hour and ENEOS Three Hour series.
In the three hour category, Jonny Reid and Neil Foster beat the field at the Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park in their Audi GT3 but they hit problems at Pukekohe and allowed Glenn Smith and John De Veth to stroll to an easy win in their McLaren 650s. The one hour races have produced huge drama too, and it was Brock Timperley who vanquished the faster machinery at Pukekohe to head into the final round with a title shot.
Smith and De Veth hold a commanding points lead over Reid and Foster, but won’t be letting their guard down as Anthony Leighs and Paul Kelly sit second overall with 166 points, with the Audi TT of Shane Helms and Rob Bolland an impressive third. It’s all to play for and one retirement or incident could change the whole picture at the top of the overall points table.
The duel for one hour honours will also reach a climax with Matt Whittaker and his Porsche currently 30 points ahead of Brock Timperley, punching above his weight in the Class 1 Falcon ahead of GT/B class cars. Any of the top five in the points could win this weekend around the North Waikato track, and with the one hour featuring a compulsory pit stop, the ability of the driver in the single driver entries to get out of the car, around it and back in as quickly as possible could prove pivotal in the overall result.
The Hampton Downs North Island finale will also see an interesting side battle as the TCR cars of John McIntyre and young Matt Penney (Honda) and Gene Rollinson ‘plus one’ (Hyundai) go head to head for the first time. The Honda returns after missing the second round. Driver Lochie Fitzgerald-Symes suffered a nasty road accident days before the event, but is making a good recovery and hopes to be back in the car later in the year. It’s the first time two TCR cars have raced each other in a New Zealand event and should prove to be an absorbing contest in Class 2 ahead of the introduction of the category as a championship series in New Zealand next season.
Testing takes place on Friday with the competitive action beginning on Saturday. Qualifying for both categories will be followed by the ENEOS One Hour with the ENEOS Three Hour starting early afternoon and providing a fitting end to the 2019 championship.