Motorsport: Hartley keeps up pressure in US

By Eric Thompson

NZ driver backs up first win with solid effort, writes Eric Thompson

Brendon Hartley and Scott Mayer brought their Starworks Motorsports BMW/Riley home sixth in Kansas. Picture / Getty Images
Brendon Hartley and Scott Mayer brought their Starworks Motorsports BMW/Riley home sixth in Kansas. Picture / Getty Images

New Zealand sportscar driver Brendon Hartley continues to prove he's more than capable of mixing it with the best in the American Rolex Grand Am series.

Hot from his first win in the championship at the previous round at Road America, Hartley was confident of another good result.

He and co-driver Scott Mayer brought their Starworks Motorsport's BMW/Riley home sixth. The quality of drivers in the category make getting inside the top 10 a good result.

With two rounds to go, the next at the magnificent Laguna Seca race track in Monterey, California, Hartley has moved into seventh on the points table and is looking to extend his string of four top 10 finishes.

"We didn't really have the pace to win the race on the weekend," he said. "It's the only time this year we haven't been really quick. Having said that, although you want to be the fastest, you can't always be the quickest every time you go out.

"Scott did a good first stint to keep us in contention and Starworks did a great job again all weekend. Sixth place was still a good effort from 13th with zero mistakes from the team during the stops.

"It's a bit of a strange circuit with only three or four corners and the rest is a banked oval. We could have had a bit of a better result, maybe fourth or fifth, but I made a bit of a mess of the restart after the caution so that didn't help. I made a few places up at other times but I don't think a win was on the cards."

Hartley was at pains to mention he and the team will be working hard to get every little bit of pace out of the car as they head to the penultimate round.

"Laguna Seca is gong to be awesome and I've played it many a times on the video game and it's a pretty iconic track in the US," he said. "We're back on a road course and the cars had a lot of pace recently on those tracks."

Stanaway's call-up

Aston Martin Racing has announced it's to field five cars at the 6 Hours of Sao Paulo in Brazil on September 1, which is round four of the World Endurance Championship. New Zealand driver Richie Stanaway gets another bite at the cherry having been signed up to race alongside Paul Dalla Lana and former Formula One driver Pedro Lamy.

Stanaway returned to the venue of his massive shunt, when racing in the Renault 3.5 championship, and showed no sign of lingering doubt around the daunting Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.

In his first major hit-out in a year and the first time in the Aston Martin, the Kiwi driver brought his Aston Martin home sixth in class in the six-hour endurance race at the second round of the WEC.

"I'm really grateful I'm getting another opportunity to do another race with them. It's a high-calibre championship and I'll obviously try and do a really good job so I'm in with a chance to do more races with them."

West on top

Not content with being in contention in the New Zealand Rally Championship, Chris West took the bragging rights at the Ashley Forest RallySprint after a close-fought ding-dong with Matt Jansen.

The victory was even more sweet as West only had half his regular crew with him. The rest were in Pahia for the Rally of the North, part of the Rally Xtreme Challenge series.

West was looking to continue the battle he had with Richard Mason at the previous round of the NZRC at the Rally of Canterbury the weekend before but it wasn't to be. Mason had to pull the pin on the event with engine issues after the qualifying run on Sunday morning.

"It's fantastic and full credit to the boys who worked their butts off," said West.

Jansen held the quickest time for the top four and was given the option of running first or second on the road for the final with West. Choosing to run first, Jansen went even quicker. However, West eclipsed his time to take the win.

- NZ Herald

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