Holden Commodore racer Andy Booth turned in a composed drive under constant and relentless pressure from reigning champion John McIntyre to win the first NZ V8s race at Timaru Raceway yesterday afternoon.
Booth had put the Big Ben Pies Commodore on pole, with McIntyre (BP Ultimate Ford Falcon) on the outside of the front row.
As a safety measure on the wet track, officials banned drivers from passing in the first three corners, allowing the cars to start racing only when they got on to the back straight.
It was a move endorsed by Booth, McIntyre and eventual third place-finisher Paul Radisich (HPM Falcon) who said allowing the cars to race into the first turn, traditionally a fraught corner at Timaru, would have been madness.
Booth won the back straight drag race, with Radisich slotting into third place ahead of Angus Fogg’s Caltex Havoline Falcon and the similar, Chesters-backed, car of Tim Edgell.
Australian David Besnard (Falcon) was sixth.
Booth defended stoutly against McIntyre, the Holden better on some parts of the track, the Falcon with the upper hand on others. But Booth just had enough edge to hold on to the placing all race.
The man on the move was Kayne Scott who started the Fujitsu Falcon from 10th after sliding off the track during the top 10 shootout and damaging the bodywork when he went “too hot” into the corner at the end of the back straight as he started what he planned to be his flying lap.
Scott had been following Fogg, and was wrong-footed when Fogg braked earlier than he’d been expecting. The Fujitsu car was travelling too fast and Scott found himself with nowhere to go, and paid the price for a rare driving error.
In hindsight, he said, he should have warmed up the tyres for a further lap and had a go when the track ahead of him was clear.
In the race he worked his way forward to an eventual sixth-place finish behind Besnard.
After a late-race restart – the race had gone yellow when dean Perkins had speared off the end of the back straight in the GT Radials Falcon – Booth held off McIntyre, and Besnard began attacking Fogg in an eventually unsuccessful bid to take fourth place.
McIntyre’s second place extended his points lead over Fogg going into this afternoon’s two races.
Results of Race 1 NZ V8s, Timaru.
1, Andy Booth, Holden Commodore.
2. John McIntyre, Ford Falcon, 0.438s behind.
3. Paul Radisich, Ford Falcon.
4. Angus Fogg, Ford Falcon.
5. David Besnard, Ford Falcon.
6. Kayne Scott, Ford Falcon.