Heart of Racing claim North Island Endurance Series win at a rain soaked Pokekohe

Tuesday, June 29, 2021


Congratulations to the Heart of Racing Aston Martin Racing team down under in New Zealand last weekend for doing what was necessary for their #52 AMR Vantage GT3 to secure the North Island Endurance Series crown for the first time.

Arriving at Pukekohe Park for the weekend’s final three-hour race, Alex Riberas and Darren Kelly were in points arrears to the #22 Audi R8 of Neil Foster and Jonny Reid but with the #22 car not competing at the final round, a race win was still essential for the team on count back if they didn’t!

Throughout a rain sodden race meeting, it was only fitting that former National Drift Champion Kelly secured his first pole position in the GT3 in such trying conditions having come so close last time out.

What followed next was almost a ‘demonstration run’ of prowess as the #52 car posted purple sector after sector as the laps passed by yet the rain continued to fall.

For the #111 GT-B class AMR Vantage GT8R of Steve Harrison and Shane Merlin however, their race would end before the end of the first hour as a long brake pedal forced them into the garage for lengthy repairs. They did finally make it back out on track towards the end but that was by then just a formality. 

With their own points situation, that should have been enough for them to claim the GT-B Class title after three previous podiums (but that's yet TBC).

As the rain appeared to lessen, the #52 car eventually took the chequered flag with a three lap margin to secure not just another rave win in the Series but also to claim the overall and GT-A class wins as well. That goes nicely with their South Island Endurance Series win of 2020 – something that the team will be defending as that series kicks off in September.

Great job guys!

Photo credits – HoRT / NIES
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