NZ V8s championship leader John McIntyre will be keeping a close eye on where arch-rival Angus Fogg is during this afternoon’s reverse grid race at Manfeild.
By winning the first two races of the three-race round, Fogg has closed the gap on McIntyre. Fogg is now 76 points behind fellow Ford Falcon driver McIntyre who finished fourth and second in the first two races.
Caltex Havoline driver Fogg says that’s still a big buffer with seven races remaining in the series, but McIntyre says his priority in what he predicts will be a mayhem-filled reverse-gridder will be to minimise any chances of Fogg closing in further.
McIntyre says he was happy with his second place in this afternoon’s Heat 2. He had got shuffled back from fourth on the grid to sixth at the start as he avoided making contact with other cars.
He then scythed his way through to second place and closed right in on Fogg after a yellow flag period.
“We had good car speed,” he said.
Fogg and McIntyre will start from the back of the field along with Kayne Scott (Fujitsu Ford) who is third on series points.
“I’ll be following my normal reverse grid race approach of sitting back and just picking off the slower cars rather than risk anything,” says McIntyre. “But I’ll have to keep my eye on Fogg and Scott.
“If they’re not 10 places in front of me, I’ll just drive my own race and make it to the finish which should be enough (to protect my series lead).
“But the nature of the circuit means the race will be a busy one. In some ways it’s nice starting at the back and watching the rest of them funnelling into the first corner.”
Fogg says that in Race 2, where he had opened a sizeable gap on his rivals before the Safety Car period, he had opted for a car set-up that would allow him to run away from the field.
“I had the tyres high from the start. The idea was to get a gap and hope the others got tangled up with each other.
“John managed to get through, but (my chance of winning the series) isn’t completely over.”
The strategy for the reverse grid race? “The car is obviously good, so we have just got to be patient and pick off (slower cars) when we can, and see where we end up,”
But he will be careful. “We don’t need any DNFs.”