Hawke's Bay driver Steve Flynn produced the drive of the meeting at the Meeanee-hosted New Zealand Super Saloon Grand Prix last night but he was far from happy.
"I'm still not on the podium and that's a fourth placing for the second consecutive week," Flynn said referring to the fact he finished fourth at last weekend's Huntly-hosted nationals.
A 24th season driver Flynn, 45, drove his V8 Chev-powered car from grid 19 to fourth place in the 30-lap final for the top 20 drivers in the 27-car Onekawa Metal Recyclers-sponsored event. He had to finish first or second in the seven-car repechage to qualify for the top 20 and the two-time national champion managed to win it from grid seven.
Flynn was relegated to the repechage after finishing last in his second group heat. The Price Engineering engineer appeared to have a mechanical issue and backed off on lap 11 when he was challenging Mount Maunganui's Ian Daniel for the lead.
When quizzed on the issue afterwards Flynn was slightly embarrassed and described it as a "driver's error." Later at the prizegiving he admitted he had misread the flags and backed off as he thought the race was finished.
"You only make that sort of mistake once."
"At least I've still got a chance of winning the series," Flynn added referring to the fact he holds third place in the 27-car Burger King Pro Dirt Series with three of the nine rounds remaining. Round six will be staged at Meeanee tonight.
His brother and defending champion in the series, Grant Flynn, did the best of the five Bay drivers in the Grand Prix with a second to Mount Maunganui's 2NZ Chris Cowling. Nelson's 3NZ Ian Burson was third.
Cowling, 33, is in his fourth season in the super saloon class after stepping up from the saloon ranks. He took the lead on lap eight from grid three and never relinquished it in his 415 Chev-powered car.
The salesman for Tauranga ITM and son of 1996/97 New Zealand Super Saloon champion Maurice Cowling was competing in the Grand Prix for the first time and will take a 27 point lead over his brother and national champion Chris Cowling into tonight's round.
"It's been a bit of a dream week. We didn't imagine we would finish one and two at Huntly. One of us with a number would have been huge and after a hard two nights of racing two of us ended up with numbers ... it was unbelievable."
"I haven't done that well at Meeanee in the past but consistency was the key tonight. Thirty laps is a long time. You never know what is going on behind you so I just got in front and played it safe," Cowling explained.
"Tomorrow night we all start fresh again. But tonight's racing gives us a little bit of a heads up. Hopefully there will be lots of passing and we all try and entertain the crowd," he added referring to tonight's meeting which will also feature the Hawke's Bay TQ and streetstock championships.