Makes It a Hat Trick!!
by Tony Bunyan
Fogg has finally fulfilled a season long ambition. To win a
race in the New Zealand Touring Car Championship.
Better than that he showed the Pukekohe crowd that it wasn't
a fluke by winning all three races! In the process he kept his
championship hopes alive and gave new hope to others in the
Championship that Lyall Williamson's BMW International Motorsport
Team can be beaten comprehensively!!.
Fogg Convincingly Wins his First Touring Car Championship
had arrived in Auckland brimming with confidence that he had
the package to beat the all conquering BMW International Motorsport
team. He had fought all season on a fraction of the budget to
provide real competition for the BMWs of current Touring Car
Champion Jason Richards and Kevin Bell. Ironically it was friend
Geoff Short, at Manfield two meetings previously, who had topped
the podium first with Fogg left to ponder the"what ifs".
a new set up, a new sponsor in Koken Tools and a track recently
resealed to reduce the bumpiness of the mountain and sweeper,
all played in Fogg's favour giving him renewed confidence he
could secure a win. Little did he know that his tally would
be three scalps!!
Angus Fogg and Crew Happy with their First Championship
to the weather forecast, Saturday's race was held in hot clear
Fogg lead from the line, with Richards in hot pursuit. Team
boss Geoff Short who has nominated to complete the season in
the Ford Telstar he has campaigned in both the NZ Touring Car
Championship and Bathurst, was in hot pursuit.
has been BMWs Arcilles heel and the recent modifications to
the track have emphasized their lack of outright horsepower.
Richards was relegated to third as Short advance to second place
on lap three.
struck the race when track officials brought out a pit board
indicating that two cars had jumped the start and would be required
to make a 10 second penalty pitstop.
had fought his way out of the pack to chase the three leaders.
In car number 2 he couldn't see the board properly and mistakenly
thought the board (which showed a 27) was meant for him. It
wasn't!! Rhys McKay pitted, but the other offender Kevin Bell
continued to circulate.
In the end
Fogg crossed the line well ahead of Short and Richards, with
Ted Jarvis leading the 1600 cc charge.
Sunday's weather deteriorated and the rain, heavy at times dictated
wet weather tyres.
wrap the N.Z. Touring Car Championship in the penultimate round,
Richards was determined to score maximum points, making an excellent
start to easily lead Fogg through the sweeper. But try as he
might, Richards couldn't hold off the Nissan's horsepower advantage
and by lap two Fogg had swapped places, Geoff Short once again
to come for Richards on lap 3 when Jodie Vincent's Nissan Sentra
SSS blew an engine, spilling oil all over the track at the entrance
to the Esses. Richards lost traction, the steering assembly
impacting heavily on the ripple strip. A rubber bush in the
steering joint was crushed, making the car difficult to steer
to the right!!
Rhys McKay into third position, with Barrie Thomlinson hot on
his heels. By lap eight Richards had rejoined the race and circulated
his crippled car into 10th position.
was Angus Fogg's, the damp weather unable to dampen the spirits
of either the driver or his team.
race of the meeting, a ten lap race on Sunday afternoon was
Richards last chance to break Fogg's stranglehold on the meeting.
Having cannibalised a BMW road car for the rubber steering bush
damaged in the previous race, the car had been repaired in time
for the last race.
had been soaking wet all day and the cars waiting in rain on
the dummy grid before exiting to the track. As in the first
race of the day, Richards made a flier of a start, with Fogg
climbing all over his exhaust pipe.
his best chance all season to make the meeting a hat trick (three
wins in a row). His set up and horsepower all suited to the
super fast Pukekohe track. Once more Fogg was able to overhaul
Richards both cars making a break from the rest of the pack.
became a casualty of lap five and Geoff Short in the Ford Telstar
joined Fogg and Richards on the podium.
points score and Richards lack of points in Race Two combine
to give Fogg a mathematical chance of beating Richards for the
championship. The last round of the New Zealand Touring Car
Championship at Taupo over Easter weekend has shaped up to be
a much more important weekend than either Richards or Fogg could