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RESULTS: Wednesday Night V8 League: Round 3 @ Pukekohe - NZ

Monday, April 15, 2013

Pukekohe - NZ

After quickly packing the cars on the plane in Tasmania, the boys made their way across the Tasman for the NZ Round of the V8 League at Pukekohe. Another short ovalish circuit, Pukekohe was set to see  some close bumper to bumper action. After a 6 year hiatus the locals were out in force saying "brung it on bro !!!!"


Reduced to a 5 minute qually session this week drivers would be lucky to smash out 5 good laps. Knowing this they did well to all give each other room. David Lord was first out to post a 52.8. Not long after, Benny Tran fresh from his Victorian Time Attack win posted an impressive 52.753. Not be outdone Michael Palladino in the dying seconds of quallifying smashes a 52.672 to take pole.

1. Michael Palladino 2. Benny tran 3. Iain Salteri

Race 1:

And they are under way. All get off pretty cleanly as they head into the tricky first turn. Rob Cooper spins which forces Matt Refalo onto the grass but he rejoins safely. After the drivers breifing last week all the drivers were giving each other room which was great to see. End of lap 1 and Benny is leading Palladino. This is how it stayed up front until Lap 5 when Benny ran wide on Turn 4 and Palladino capitalise by taking the lead the lead. A good scrap mid pack as the back stretch was housing some daring moves due to the advantages of drafting. Almost all locking up at least once while diving under brakes into the hairpin. The scap up front are starting to gap the feild with nothing in it for over 4 laps. Unfortunately Benny came in too hot on the hairpin and took out Palladino with a tap in the rear quarter. Palladino stuck in the kitty and benny slapped with a penalty. Soon after Michael Gray & Goode pit for tyres. Obviously tyre wear is heavy on the left front and rears which may not see out the 20 lap sprint. Nigel could not see out the rest of the race on one set of tyres as he too pitted on Lap 15. Five laps to go and everyone is looking at tyre wear. Those who have pitted are chasing down those who haven't. David Lord and Benny going toe to toe until Benny became the victim of his earlier tap with Palladino. Lord unfortunately also taps Benny Tran in the rear pushing him to the gravel trap, Lord copping a penalty after the stewards investigated the incident. Iain Salteri now in front looking too good for this one. After his earlier incident Palladino is making his way through the feild and chasing Paul "Ice Man" Robinson for second position. The checqured came before that could happen and Ice Man holds firm for second from 10th on the starting grid. Thats his best result so far in his rookie season. Another good result for the rookies is Jarryd Busuttil finishing in 5th. This was helped by Matt Refalo blowing his tyres on the hairpin on the last lap, painfully close to the end Matt was stuck in the kitty litter and had to call for the tow truck.

1st. Iain Salteri 2nd. Paul Robinson 3rd. Michael Palladino

Race 2:

Reverse grid and it Was "ON". Paul Robinson on a high from his result in Race 1 was keen to push on and continue the good form. The green flag drops and it is he and Jamie Hemi for the first couple of laps. Like a hot knofe through butter Benny Tran strating in 13th is up to P6 after 2 laps. Even better than that is Salteri who started in in 11th is now in the lead and enjoying the fresh air up front. This left Nigel Faull and Palladino to battle it out for 2nd position. Nigel started to fall back into the clutches of Benny Tran,Tim Hamilton & Ice Man. This developed into a great scap mid pack. Micheal Goode was the first to pit on lap 10. His strategy was clear and sent a message out to the rest of the feild. Refalo soon followed learning from his mistake from Race 1. Further back in the feild and Busuttil has been taken out at the hairpin unintentionally by Lord. At the half way point its Salteri, Palladino and Faull. As everyone has pitted early Ice Man is now getting some clean air in the radiator up the front of the pack. The crowd was on its feet cheering him on as they were seeing that he was to make those tyres last until Lap 18. After all the pitstops the race settles back down to see Salteri, Palladino and Faull resume their original positions. Ice Man and Michael Gray now battling for 5th position. Things were pretty even round the track. Ice Man making his tyres last was giving Gray the opportunity to close in hard at the hairpin every lap. However true to his name Paul Robinson holds position and takes 5th.Tim Hamilton takes 4th, Faull 3rd, Palladino 2nd and Salteri takes win no.2 with a 5 second advantage.

Race 3:

A great start from Palladino sees him in front of Salteri with Ice Man close behind.David Lord gets Refalo deep under brakes into the hairpin. Whats the stretegy going to be for this 40 lapper???? Michael Goode, David Lord and Tim Hamilton all breathing down the back of the Ice Man as Nigel Faull makes his way past into 3rd place. Tim Hamilton received a warning for agressive driving on David Lord but he wasn't the only one in the mix. Looking back at the tapes it looked like Tim was the innocent party there. Further back there was a battle intensifying between Benny Tran, Tim Hamilton, David Lord and Michael Gray. All these class drivers swapping turns down the front and back straights due to that kiwi draft. Palladino smashing it up front as he is consistantly settling low 53 laptimes. Obviously his pit strategy is different for this one. Lap 15 and looks like most are using it to pit for fresh rubber. 5 laps later and Rob Cooper unfortunately spins on Pit entry blocking David Lord and Ice Man. Rob does well to straighten the car up as fast as he can and all 3 roll into pits losing a bit of valuable time.A couple of laps later and there is an accident with Jamie Hemi, Lord and Benny. Not sure what went on there but they all scramble to get back on the track as fast as they can. It seems as though spinning on pit entry is the latest fashion as Michael Gray follows the trend costing him a costly drive through penalty. Gray is sooon forced to DNF late in the race. Ten laps to go and its Salteri out front with Palladino half a second behind. Ice Man and Lord a further 31 seconds behind. Tim Hamilton had made 3 pitstops and this saw him fall back to P8. This was not to last long as he swiftly made his way back to P5. Back up front with a couple of laps to go and palladino is now trailing Salteri by .2 seconds. Palladino being the gentleman driver he is had an opportunity to take Salteri but backed out playing it safe and thinking of the bigger picture. It was Salteri to make it a clean sweep in NZ with Palladino 2nd and Nigel Faull in 3rd as David Lord was slapped with a 10 second penalty relegating him to 4th position.

A great race by all as the drivers are trying to make it cleaner and giving each other more respect and not getting caught up in the moment. There is still racing to be had and so there will be situations that will arise but as you know "Racing is Racing"

Race Results:

      2013 V8 League
Drivers Race 1  Race 2  Race 3 Race 4 Race 5 Race 6 Race 7 Race 8 Race 9 Race 10 Race 11 Race 12 Race 13 Race 14 Race 15 Race 16 Total Points Current Place
Iain Salteri 20 15 17 20                         72 1st
Michael Palladino 15 20 13 17                         65 2nd
Tim Hamilton 17 12 20 12                         61 3rd
Nigel Faull 10 11 15 15                         51 4th
David Lord 12 17 10 11                         50 5th
Michael Gray 13 13 11 9                         46 6th
Paul Robinson 8 8 6 13                         35 7th
Enda Murphy 11 9 9 0                         29 8th
Matthew Refalo 0 6 12 10                         28 9th
Benny Tran 9 10 0 7                         26 10th
Rob Cooper 6 7 7 5                         25 11th
Jarryd Busuttil 5 5 5 8                         23 12th
Michael Goode 0 4 8 6                         18 13th
Jamie Hemi 3 0 4 4                         11 14th
Troy Tzislowski 7 0 0 0                         7 15th
Jimmy Tran 4 0 0 0                         4 16th

by Shane Gilfeather


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