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NZ Grand Prix – 15th April 2023

Race report

We headed back to Stratford for the grand prix with some new ideas on the car hopeful we would make up a bit of ground on speed. The heats would be spread over three races with each competitor in two races on the night. We drew heat one and three and two middle grids which would add to our points for qualifying.

Heat one we started 7th on the inside row. The track was very heavy and quite difficult all running around the bottom.  We had a pretty even start but snuck a couple of spots in the opening laps to settle into fourth spot. We moved up on the guys in front but ran out of laps to make a pass and settled with fourth spot.

Heat two we started sixth and after a false start got a blinder down the outside of 1-2 top of three wide to jump up a row. We grabbed one more spot early before the field strung out. Again we made ground on the cars in front of us but couldn’t pick our way through even with the help of lappers in the short heat. Third would be our takeaway from the heat which put us up the pointy end for the feature grid where we would roll off third.

The feature was over 25 laps, and we bolted on some good tires and our tuned up setup to see if we could work our way up. The start was not good for us however and we got muscled into the wrong lane then lost a couple of spots, briefly falling to sixth spot with a tight tending car. We got back rolling, found our groove and dialled in the shocks to make a tear for the front. We moved up to fourth quite quickly then set off after the leaders.

They had built quite a margin but we continually cut that back and eventually were in position to make a move when a caution came out. We ran about looking after our tires and packing the top groove but after the restart for whatever reason our car went to junk. We lost our forward drive and had no exit speed onto the straights and no amount of dialling on the shocks made any real improvement.

The laps wound down quickly with us stagnant in fourth and that would be where we would finish. It was a shame we couldn’t get back on the podium in an event that had previously treated us well, but the positives from the weekend are we have found the speed to race for the win again and we can head to Palmy in a couple of weeks with a fast car again.

The last round of the track championship at Palmy will be on the 29th of April and with all going well and no rain that will wind up our season. Hopefully we can grab ahold of the checkered flag there!

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