Even the wind and rain of Hampton Downs fall to stop the success of RaceLabs AMR Vantage GT8R's

Sunday, February 13, 2022


Some great racing and some incredible weather were just two contributory factors that gave another successful and podium winning round of the Rodin Cars Super GT NZ for the two Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT8R crews.

Points already gained at both Highlands Park and Mike Pero Motorsport Park had the RaceLab prepared GT8R of Stephen Harrison hold a slim lead of the GT4 Class going into this round and that was soon to be added to after Saturday’s first half hour race where the yellow #78 AMR took a P4 overall finish and importantly, a class win to add to his haul.

Then for Sunday - the weather changed.

Increasingly long bouts of torrential rain and a stiffening wind made for the grid to take to the track for their formation lap had all on slicks only for the Hampton Downs racetrack to become almost flooded within minutes meaning for a late call from Race Control to allow all to pit for wets.

Unfortunately for Harrison, a reoccurring brake issue with his car forced him to retire into the pit lane without crossing the line to take the start of Sundays second half hour race. For Shaun Helms and his #77 Aston Martin, that delayed start allowed him to reach pit lane in time for the restart having been delayed on the public roads into the circuit due to the weather closing a nearby bridge.

That piece of luck was later transformed into a P3 overall finish – P2 in GT4 after being passed for position just meters ahead of the chequered flag by the #24 McLaren.

That left Sundays afternoon’s closing one hour race to see things out at the North Island racetrack as Harrison had qualified sixth overall with Helms down in twelfth. Fortunately, the rains had passed and the track had almost dried although the wind remained extremely strong.

An early and unfortunate contact with his RaceLab team Ginetta entry had Helms on the back foot as the grid cycled through the laps and into the pitstop window. With the GT3 cars electing to pit early for longer had the GT4 cars rise to the top of the timing screen again as the race approached half distance.

The previous races double race winning Porsche came to an untimely halt on track but that allowed for the pack to rebunch for a five-minute dash to the flag allowing for a charging Harrison to scythe past four cars to have a four-car battle for position going into the final lap.

Eventually finishing eighth overall and fourth in class, the nature of the entries allowed Harrison to claim another podium finish to that of Saturday with a P2 finish in class in Race 3.

The Series now has a two week break before its final round at Taupo at the end of February.

Photo credits – Teams / Series.
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