Motorsport: Big weekend for kiwis racing abroad

By Eric Thompson

Young competitors confident of picking up points, writes Eric Thompson

Earl Bamber has his sights set on the Porsche Supercup. Picture / Porsche Orewa's
Earl Bamber has his sights set on the Porsche Supercup. Picture / Porsche Orewa's

This weekend New Zealand has a bumper crop of young drivers and riders competing overseas, the majority of them in support categories for the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at Catalunya. Driven runs a ruler over the runners and riders.

Mitch Evans
The Aucklander is gearing up for his second GP2 race this season in Spain and will be hoping to have a better weekend than at the opening race in Bahrain. A few technical issues saw the Kiwi finish 14th in the first race, but he had a better result in race two, passing seven cars to finish seventh.

While a little disappointed that he couldn't make good on his early practice and qualifying pace in Bahrain, Evans is confident he'll be able to get it organised this weekend in Spain. He showed he had the pace in practice and qualifying, and if the cards fall just right on race day he could easily be fighting for a podium finish.

"I took a lot of positives from the race weekend, especially when you realise how close the competition is," said Evans. "It was a massive result to be able to get past so many other drivers and shows that we have the pace and I'm sure there's more to come yet. We were really quick in pre-season testing and we're among the quickest."

Earl Bamber
The Kiwi is becoming a recognised Porsche exponent, jumping on to the podium just about every time he belts up in the GT Cup car. In his most recent outing in the German Carrera Cup championship, Bamber rocketed into third place in the first hit-out in the German series.

Late last year, Bamber won the international Porsche Supercup Scholarship to race in the one-make series as a support class for the European rounds of the Formula One championship, and he's keen to get going this weekend.

"It's great to be able to do all the racing I am at the moment, but the focus this year is on the Supercup. We've had some great tests but now it's time to start the competition," he said.

Richie Stanaway
Like Bamber, Stanaway is about to contest his second weekend in a row of racing, this time in his GP3 car.

The Kiwi driver received a late call-up to the GP3 championship with the Status Racing team and, even after nearly two years out of single seaters, showed good pace in pre-season testing. He was consistently inside the top 10 and at times inside the top five and could be the surprise package in Spain this weekend.

"GP3 couldn't be a better place to get back into single-seater racing and I'm really keen to get going. It's been a really long time since I've had a crack at a full season [last time 2011] so it's great to have another chance," said Stanaway.

Scott Dixon
IndyCar driver Dixon is impressed with the new layout of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, as you might expect after he set the fastest time in open practice last week.

The circuit has been altered from its former Formula 1 configuration for IndyCar's first race on the venue's road layout this weekend.

Dixon is pleased with what the organisers have done with the track and is looking forward to seeing how his car handles one of the longest straights on the race calendar.

After his third place last time out at the rain-interrupted Barber Motorsports race, Dixon is keen to improve on his fourth place on the points table and close the gap on series leader Will Power.

Avalon Biddle



Avalon Biddle is enjoying being back on a grand prix bike.

Picture / Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
Avalon Biddle is enjoying being back on a grand prix bike. Picture / Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

Kiwi Motorcycle racer Avalon Biddle is hoping her second outing this weekend on the Rumi Moto3 bike is better than her opening round. Despite showing some good pace before the opening round of the CIV Italian Championship last month, the team decided to withdraw the bike on race weekend when they couldn't find the reason for a sudden loss of speed.

Recent testing has seen much improvement and Biddle is happy with the bike heading into this weekend's race. The Rumi folk are looking at this year as a project year in an effort to develop a bike to take on the Honda, KTM, Mahindra, Kymco and Peugeot teams next year.

Biddle is enjoying being back on a grand prix bike after a couple of seasons on 600cc machines and is pleased with the progress the team is making.

- NZ Herald

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