Motorsport: Stanaway still on top

By Colin Smith

In spite of a heavy crash in qualifying, Tauranga teenager Richie Stanaway maintained his winning run as well as the points lead in the German Formula 3 Championship last weekend.
The fifth and sixth races of the German series were decided at the Sachsenring near Liepzig.
Saturday's race saw Stanaway, 19, on pole position - worth a valuable bonus point in the title chase - having topped the first qualifying session by a convincing 0.5secs in his Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara-Volkswagen.
But in the second qualifying session on Saturday morning - which decides the grid for the second race of the weekend - Stanaway damaged his car on his fifth lap, which left him only sixth fastest.
Team Van Amersfoort Racing hadn't all the spare parts on site they needed to repair the car but other teams came to their assistance with the necessary parts.
Performance Racing provided the sidepod and underfloor, Brandl Racing the inner radiator cover and the father of Hannes van Asseldonk even drove to the Team Motopark headquarters in Oschersleben to get an exhaust pipe for Stanaway's car.
Later on Saturday, Stanaway drove the repaired car to his fourth victory of the year in the 25-lapper ahead of Danish driver Marco Sorensen.
In Sunday's race, Stanaway moved forward from sixth on the grid to finish fourth while Austrian Klaus Bachler won his first race of the series ahead of Sorensen.
Stanaway's win, fourth and bonus point at the Sachsenring matched the 16-point haul for the weekend which Sorensen gained from his two second placings. The margin between the two remains just four points with Stanaway leading the championship with 56 points from Sorensen on 52.


The next round is at the Assen TT circuit in The Netherlands on June 4-5.
Sumner climbs high
New Zealand rally champion Dean Sumner (Rotorua) provided a performance benchmark for local car club competitors at the opening round of the Motorsport Bay of Plenty Hillclimb Challenge on Sunday.
Back behind the wheel of his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9 after slipping off the road into a costly retirement a week earlier at Rally New Zealand, Sumner used the hillclimb as further testing and clocked the fastest official time of the day with a 1m 12.15s effort on the 2.6km gravel hill near Otamarakau.
Fastest of the local car club members and holding the lead in the double-header which continues this Sunday on tarmac at Te Puke Quarry Rd was Subaru Impreza driver Ben Thomasen.
Thomasen continued the form which has brought some promising rally results by finishing the day with a 1m 12.98s effort, less than a second behind the national champ on the 2.6km course.
Sumner is unable to contest this weekend's tarmac round - he will be in Wellington at the Motorsport NZ annual prizegiving receiving his national rally championship award.
Thomasen's best effort came on his final official run and earned him a lead of 1.27secs over Rotorua's Phil Jones (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo4). Wayne Pittams (Subaru Impreza) finished third with the 4WD turbocharged cars of Carl Davies (Galant VR4) and Matt Hayward (Subaru Legacy) completing the top-five.
Phil Campbell driving his V6 engined Mitsubishi Mirage was the leading 2WD competitor in sixth place and was three seconds clear of the Nissan Skyline of Shane Wright.
The event attracted a small turnout of 15 cars and the field was reduced further in the first round when John James put his Mk 1 Escort off the road and down a bank.
Motorsport BOP Hillclimb Challenge round 1, MacDougall Quarry Rd - results:
1 Ben Thomasen (Subaru Impreza) 1m 12.98s; 2 Phil Jones (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo4) 1m 14.25s; 3 Wayne Pittams (Subaru Impreza) 1m 15.44s; 4 Carl Davies (Mitsubishi Galant VR4) 1m 17.43s; 5 Matt Hayward (Subaru Legacy) 1m 19.13s; 6 Phil Campbell (Mitsubishi Mirage V6) 1m 19.50s; 7 Shane Wright (Nissan Skyline) 1m 22.78s; 8 Andrew Shrimpton (Ford Escort) 1m 23.00s; 9 Danny James (Ford Escort) 1m 23.71s; 10 Tim Webb (Toyota Starlet) 1m 31.47s.
Hard work pays
Bay of Plenty motocross racer Michael Phillips says his podium finish at the most recent round of the Australian Motocross Champs is a result of "the hard work finally paying off".
Phillips, who splits his time in New Zealand between Mt Maunganui and his family home at Rotorua, finished third at round four of the Australian Nationals raced at Murray Bridge in South Australia on May 8.
He claimed two thirds, a fourth and seventh aboard his Honda CRF450F in the four-race contest and is looking ahead to repeating the front-running effort this weekend when he contests round five at Toowoomba on Sunday.
"'I had good starts and four solid races and, even though I had a little crash in the last race, I was able to get my first MX1 podium in Australia," said Phillips.
"The championship is very close this year and there have been a few different winners. I'm sixth in the championship and with 500 points still up for grabs it's not over till the final at the end of July."
Phillips is racing in Australia for the Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing team, gaining a call-up to the MX1 class during a strong New Zealand championship effort where he finished third.
"The team is working really well and the good thing for me is I beat my teammate at the last round," said Phillips
"My focus is good starts and staying on the bike. When you've got five guys at the front all lapping within one second of each other the starts become hugely important."
After this weekend's fifth round at Toowoomba, the Australian Nationals take a break for a month but Phillips will remain in Australia and compete at a non-championship event in Perth before round six at Coonabaraban, NSW, on June 19.
Speedway continues
It may be racing towards the middle of winter already but there is still some speedway action on the calendar for the keenest racers and fans.
The Waihi Beach Dirt Track Club will host its annual fun day for saloons, stock cars and production saloons at Queen's Birthday weekend.
The racing at the scenic hillside oval is scheduled for Saturday, June 4, with the following day set aside as a rain-out date if required.
Trying again
Waterlogged sections of track and pit area at the Awakaponga MX track saw the BOP Motorcycle Club postpone the second round of its Yamaha Motocross Champs on Sunday. Another attempt is being made to run the event this Sunday if conditions improve.
Also on the local dirt bike scene, the Tarawera Trail Bike Riders Club has confirmed July 9 as the date for the annual Tarawera 100 endurance race.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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