Saturday 29th & Sunday 30th November 2001

Qualifying Times
How the cars performed in qualifying
Race Results
Results directly from the track

Race Timetable
Find out when the cars are on the track

Trackside Weather
Updated Daily by Yahoo!
The NZ 2.0 litre Touring Car Photo Gallery
Selected pics from the meeting
The Championship So Far
All of the results to date
Championship Points
Who's leading the Championship

Contact Us by Email
We enjoy hearing from you!

Search NZ Touring Cars
Looking or Something Special - Search Our Web Site With Google!
Have Your Say!
What Will Be the NZTC Championship Winning Car?

View Results
Your opinion is important to us - and its fun!

Qualifying - Thomlinson On Top
by Tony Bunyan 

The second round in the 20001/02 New Zealand Touring Car Championship Meeting got underway in dry overcast and sunny conditions at the Centennial Park Raceway this weekend. A cool breeze fanned across the track, reducing tract temperature.

Barrie Thomlinson pushed the Toyota Altezza hard to clinch the session, but Kevin Bell in the BNT BMW 320 had made huge performance gains since the disappointment of Pukekohe. "We don't believe where as far behind Barrie as the timesheets might indicate", said Bell. "Our timing indicates that we're as fast, if not faster than him".

Bell split the Altezzas, with Phil Hellebrekers running 35 hundredths of a second behind his team mate Thomlinson.

The Nissan Primeras of Team Kiwi struggled to find the pace they had in Friday practice with principle driver Angus Fogg commenting that qualifying had been more difficult than he had hoped. It was still enough to put him on the second row of the grid ahead of team mate McKay who slotted into fifth, a tenth of a second behind Fogg.

Aaron Harris Didn't Enjoy Qualifying

There was frustration for Aaron Harris who had made such a big impression at the Pukekohe meeting. Torque and horsepower were compromised by an unidentified engine fault. This resulted in very slow exit speeds from Taupo's tight hairpin and penalised the lap times by several seconds.

Adam Brook could feel justifiably miffed at race officialdom. His car was found to be underweight after the qualifying session. Not only was he given a $100.00 fine and disqualification from the results, but also a two month license endorsement. A harsh penalty relative to the seriousness of the offense.

Thomlinson was able to increase his points lead and tighten his grip on the New Zealand Touring Car Championship, but Bell's BMW had made considerable progress since Pukekohe. Team Kiwi had started to warm to the task, setting the scene for a very interesting weekend.




Thomlinson On Track But Fogg Dents Record!
by Tony Bunyan 

For the second meeting in a row, NZRDC Winter Cup Champion Barrie Thomlinson continued on his winning way in the Wynns New Zealand Touring Car Championship, piloting his Toyota Altezza to two victories. However, Taupo specialist Angus Fogg in the Team Kiwi Nissan Primera put the brakes on a clean sweep by taking out Sunday's reverse grid race.

Race One
Thomlinson in the Toyota Altezza made a great start to beat the BNT/Castrol BMW of Kevin Bell into the first turn. Following close behind were Team Kiwi's Angus Fogg and the second Altezza of Phil Hellebrekers. As the cars swept on to the main straight for the first time Fogg ran wide, lost traction, and slide sideways through the kitty litter before coming to rest up against the tyre barrier.

Angus Fogg's First Race lasted less than 40 Seconds!

Fogg's misfortune was Rhys McKay's gain as he pressured third placed Hellebrekers for the a podium finish. By lap four Hellebrekers was under tremendous pressure from McKay. The pair playing swap as they battled to dominate. The Nissan Primera finally gaining an upper hand to cement third position.

In the meantime Thomlinson and Bell had cleared out from the pack by almost 0.5 second. Bell constantly probed Thomlinson looking for any opportunity to pounce. His best opportunity came as the cars swept onto the main straight for the sixth time. Despite pulling out of Thomlinson's slip stream and pulling ahead down the main straight, Bell waved Thomlinson through, believing a yellow flag to be still in force as a result of Fogg's incident. Thomlinson shut the door firmly on Bell as the pair headed into the left hander before the hairpin, never allowing Bell to get as close again.

Further back in the pack Aaron Harris and Tony Oliver scrapped for the minor money, Harris still suffering from the poor engine performance that had plaqued him in qualifying.

The tail enders provided some entertainment as the leaders passed them in the closing stages of the race. Barrie Thomlinson once again vindicated Toyota New Zealand's faith in his driving ability, continuing his unbroken record as he marches towards the 2001/02 Championship title.

Race Two
The weather was warm, but changeable as the cars made their way to the grid for the first of Sunday's two races. Kevin Bell's assertion that the BMW was every bit as fast as the Toyota proved right with his fastest lap in Saturday's race (42.30 sec) promoted him to pole position for race two, Thomlinson joining him on the front row of the grid.

However, Bell couldn't capitalise on his position, the BMW wheel spinning off the line and not getting the drive necessary to stave off the Toyotas. As the cars reached the end of the main straight it was Thomlinson and Hellebrekers followed by Bell in third. McKay, Fogg and Millener all made excellent starts, McKay swallowing Bell up as they went through the left hand sweeper. The back of Bell's car stepped out through the hairpin and Fogg tagged him as the cars exited the turn. Peter Millener in the second International Motorsport BMW ran wide at the same place that Fogg had in the previous race managing to get the car back onto the track but lossing several places in the process.

Hellebrekers was making good progress on his team mate, showing the flare that had made him New Zealand Formula Ford Champion, only to spin at the end of the main straight on the fourth lap, collecting Kevin Bell in the process and forcing Rhys McKay in Team Kiwi's Nissan Primera into the run off zone.

It was the break Thomlinson had been looking for, providing him with a comfortable buffer between him and the rest of the field.

The real action was for second place. Fogg's Pitstop Nissan Primera got past Bell in the mayhem of Hellebrekers spin and Bell was determined to regain his place. Fogg wasn't having a bar of it, the Nissan riding on three rather than four wheels for most of every lap as he pushed the car to the limit and beyond. There were several heart stopping moments as the cars entered the left hander at the end of the main straight two wide and at full race pace. The racing was hard and clean, the cars exchanged paint on more than one occasion.

In the end Thomlinson made his win look easy, Fogg crossing the line ahead of Bell. The rest of the field was lead across the line by Harris, McKay and Hellebrekers unable to recoup the time they lost at the start of the race.

Race 3
In the 16 lap reverse grid third race, Angus Fogg who had thought his relatively slow lap times were a disadvantage now found himself on the front row of the grid and relishing the opportunity for a clean start. He didn't disappoint his Team Kiwi fans, blasting off the line with a catch me if you can attitude. Thomlinson and Bell had a lot of traffic to pass if they were going to beat him!

Bell's BMW was an early casualty, parking his car at the end of the main straight, a tap on the front right bending a steering arm and terminating his race. The DNF doing nothing for his championship points tally.

The sky darkened and a few spits of rain swept across the track, but after threatening to disrupt the race, it passed Centennial Park by. Taupo is notoriously difficult to pass on, as Thomlinson was finding out as he tried to pass Aaron Harris's Dynopack BMW 320 coupe. Thomlinson made some stabbing darts onto the grass at the hairpin, but Harris made his car very wide. Eventually Thomlinson's race craft won the day, selling a dummy first to Harris and then later in the race to Millener by running wide at the end of the main straight before diving down the inside of the left hander to take the place.

Earlier rookie Peter Millener had done a great job holding off the more experienced Rhys McKay for second place, but inevitably McKay secured the place to give Team Kiwi a familiar one-two formation. By lap 11 Thomlinson had advanced to third place and Hellebrekers was also making progress to slot in behind Thomlinson.

More problems for Harris, a gearbox failure ending his race prematurely.

In the dying laps of the race Thomlinson was making some do or die moves on McKay at the hairpin, forcing his nose into the gap but failing to find the exit speed to make the move stick. As the checkered flag dropped it was a Team Kiwi double, followed by the Toyotas of Thomlinson and Hellebrekers.

All text and photographs are copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 & 2002 TR Bunyan