Murph King of SuperTourers again

By Eric Thompson

Champ takes title with day's racing to spare, reports Eric Thompson

Greg Murphy on his way to sealing victory at Pukekohe. Picture / Andrew Bright
Greg Murphy on his way to sealing victory at Pukekohe. Picture / Andrew Bright

Greg Murphy is the V8 SuperTourers champion for the second year in a row, as the series' season gets chopped to four rounds.

For those left scratching their heads at the weekend's ITM500 V8 Supercars race weekend at Pukekohe, the series will now run from September through to the Pukekohe event next year, kicking off with endurance rounds, labelled 2014/2015.

The change takes nothing away from crowd favourite Murph's second successive championship as the four-time Bathurst winner clinched his title with a day's racing to spare. He set an unassailable points lead on Saturday by winning both the day's races.

Knowing he had the series title in the bag, Murphy wasn't going to lose too much sleep after being beaten by teammate Richard Moore in the last race of the weekend. The pair had a good old ding-dong all race long.

Moore got the best of his illustrious teammate early on in the race when he slipped past heading into the new chicane on the back straight but he soon made a miscalculation into the same corner having to take advantage of the slip road and rejoined in third.

However, after some pretty solid driving Moore was soon back on the boot lid of Murphy's car. He pounced on the run up to the corner leading on to the back straight and kept Murphy at bay until the chequered flag.

After the race, Murphy clapped his teammate on the back and said he was not upset to suffer only his second defeat of the season. "It's about racing and entertaining, that's what people love to see," he said.

"It's not about me winning all the races. It was fun to race with Richard; he's been driving absolutely superbly. It's great to see the young drivers doing so well and I reckon the SuperTourers could be a route into V8 Supercars for fast young Kiwis."

Moore was happy to get his first win in the category driving on his own after winning an endurance race with V8 Supercars co-driver Tim Slade last year.

"It got a bit stressful at one stage, I got carried away [when he made the mistake]," said Moore. "It was so loose."

Another youngster, Simon Evans, made up for a big disappointment on Saturday when he was turned around by Ant Pedersen by weaving his way through the field from sixth to take second in Sunday's first race.

He then took third in the final race and finished second in the championship and has to be the biggest mover and improver in the series this year. Evans, who had also missed a probable victory at Manfeild earlier in the season, was clearly upset.

"To say I'm gutted would sum it up," said Evans. "We had a very good car and I was feeling really confident."

Murphy led race one from pole but Evans came from third to first with two passing moves at the hairpin, first on Pedersen and then on Murphy himself.

Pedersen next attacked Murphy at the hairpin but he braked too late, ploughed ahead and hit Evans.

It was not a heavy hit but it pushed Evans into a spin, dropping him from first to 10th before he finished sixth.

"I feel real sorry for Simon," said Murphy.

"I saw Ant coming and gave him heaps of room, but he couldn't pull up in time."

Fellow Auckland teenager Andre Heimgartner had been in strong contention for a top placing but his Holden stopped in Sunday's first race and he did not start the final, which dropped him to fifth in the series.

The 2014 championship was reduced from seven to four rounds because the organisation rejigged the schedule so that the next series will run from September to April rather than over the calendar year.

Final championship points

1. Greg Murphy - 1155
2. Simon Evans - 836
3. Richard Moore - 821
4. Ant Pedersen - 817
5. Andre Heimgartner - 732
6. Tim Edgell - 564

- NZ Herald

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