WHITTAKER TOPS DEMON D1NZ EASTER SHOWDOWN
By Oversteer TV, Apr 24 2015 06:02AM
Rattla Motorsport's Curt Whittaker took a commanding win at the Link ECU backed penultimate round of the Demon Energy Drinks D1NZ National Drifting Championship Series, held at Mike Pero Motorsport Park in Christchurch over the Easter holiday weekend.
At the helm of the Autosure Insurance R34 Skyline, Whittaker was setting consistently strong laps all weekend; securing fifth place in qualifying and earning himself a bye-run in the Top-32 main event.
The former New Zealand champion then progressed through the competition defeating Dave Steedman in the Mimico Nissan S14, Shane Giles in the WR Twigg / A1 Holmes Nissan S14, and Bruce Tannock in the Achilles Radial S13. This saw a final showdown between Whittaker and the young Nico Reid Drift in the Genuine Vehicle Imports Nissan S15.
Unlike Whittaker, Reid had to battle through the Top-32 bracket after qualifying down in 15th, defeating Jodie Verhulst in the Milwaukee Tools Supra. The Top-16 saw Reid fend off four time legend Gaz Whiter in the Fenix Radiators Nissan S14 and Rockstar’s Joe Kukutai in the Top-8.
Daniel Woolhouse was next in line heading into the semi-finals, looking like a real threat after qualifying in third; as well as causing a championship upset knocking title contender Andrew Redward out of the Top-8. Woolhouse would struggle to chase Reid in the semi-final, the former development series winner taking the win, sending Woolhouse and the Century Batteries Holden Commodore into the battle for third.
Reid’s journey through to the final wasn’t made any easier battling intermittent engine timing issues, along with only third and fourth gear available after gearbox dramas throughout practice. Despite his team’s troubles Reid would press on to battle Whittaker in the final showdown, only to have his car gremlins put him out of the first lap, handing an easy 10-0 victory to Whittaker.
The battle for third place saw a popular victory to Bruce Tannock in the Achilles Radial Nissan S13, Tannock able to power away from Daniel Woolhouse’s VE Commodore in the final sector, earning himself a well-deserved podium finish - much to the delight of the turbo teams and supporters.
While the turbo-charged teams put on an entertaining fight in Christchurch it was still a V8 taking the round honours, Whittaker’s Ford 410ci V8 powered Skyline taking a second round victory this season.
The end of the fifth round of the series has blown apart the championship title race, points leader Darren Kelly still managing to hold onto a small lead with 423.5 after putting his Turbosmart Oz Racing R34 Skyline on pole during qualifying.
Despite Kelly being knocked out in the Top-8 by Bruce Tannock it was Andrew Redward suffering the most in Christchurch, Curt Whittaker leap-frogging into second position with a very strong round victory. This puts Redward and the Club Auto Insurance FC RX7 just a mere three points back in third, Daniel Woolhouse also another mere three points behind in fourth.
Close competition was also served up for round five of the Demon Energy Pro-AM Development Series, Troy Jenkins taking the round victory in the Brian Roberts Towing Nissan S15, C’s Garage driver Joel Hedges battling two blown axles during the competition to pull through into second. Joel Patterson and Adam Davies took third and fourth respectively, the Pro-AM top four also finishing in order of their now current championship standings which spices up their series title race heading into round six.
The Grand Final is set to kick off over May 23rd and 24th at Pukekohe Park Raceway in Auckland, home to one of the fastest drifting sections in the world. Series organisers are preparing for a big event with pre-sales already well above expectations.
Full ticket & event information is available on their website at D1NZ.com
2015 Pro-Championship Points after Round 5
1. Darren Kelly 423.5
2. Curt Whittaker 388
3. Andrew Redward 385
4. Daniel Woolhouse 382
5. Gaz Whiter 363.5
6. Cole Armstrong 316.5
7. Daynom Templeman 291.5
8. David Steedman 266
9. Nico Reid 259.5
10. Bruce Tannock 255.5
2015 Pro-AM Development Series Points after Round 5
1. Troy Jenkins 417
2. Joel Hedges 412
3. Joel Paterson 386
4. Adam Davies 373
5. Stuart Baker 356
6. Pernell Callaghan 339
7. Ben Wilkinson 310
8. Michael Thorley 287.5
9. Gagan Singh 287.5
10. Chad Mckenzie 276.5
Photo Credit: Maria Panova Photography