Otago drivers finish on the podium

By Catherine Pattison on Sat, 25 Feb 2017 | Motorsport
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The Ford Sierra RS500 driven by ex-Formula 1 driver Gianfranco Brancatelli, of Brazil, was one of the impressive cars racing at the Classic SpeedFest at Teretonga Park last weekend. Photo: Supplied

Otago drivers were among the podium place-getters at the Classic SpeedFest at Teretonga Park in Invercargill last weekend.

They were scattered across various classes on the programme of the event's 25th year and joined millions of dollars worth of special racing cars that were competing in the Formula Junior class. The machinery entered in this category - dedicated to the era of motorsport from 1958 until 1963 and designed as a cost-effective single-seater racing car class - was estimated at more than $4million.

In the historic touring cars class, former Formula One driver Gianfranco Brancatelli, now based in Brazil, won all four races in a Ford Sierra RS500. Dunedin's Stephen Grellet was second each time in his BMW E30 M3.

Grellet said it was a ‘‘brilliant weekend, with a great lot of cars''.

He didn't mind being runner-up to Brancatelli, who won the European Touring Car Championship in 1985, as Grellet set a Teretonga lap record for his class, of 1min 04sec.

Invercargill driver Brendan Mason, in his Chev Camaro, won two of the four classic saloon car races for cars over 2000cc. Tony Mann, of Dunedin, in a Capri and Queenstown driver Duane Ingley, in a Dodge Challenger, took the other wins.

Oamaru's Dean Sutherland drove his Toyota Starlet to victory in the first and last races in the classic saloons up to 2000cc class.

In the Formula Libre races, Gary Cooper, of Mosgiel, won all three outings in a Reynard 92H after the fastest qualifier, Invercargill's Damon Leitch, struck problems. His Cromwell- based brother Brendon finally made it on to the back of the grid for the finale, driving through to second.

Christchurch's David Owen won the first vintage racing car race in a Jaguar C-Type before Paul Coghill, of Dunedin, in a Jaguar Special, won all three of Sunday's races.

Invercargill's Liam MacDonald won the opening clubman saloon race from LeRoy Stevenson, of Queenstown, in the ex-Rodger Freeth Starlet.

The Formula Junior racing featured cars with production-based engines of either 1000cc or 1100cc, depending on the weight of the car, with parts from production vehicles and strict rules on modifications. In class one, Anthony Olissoff, of Auckland, in his Emeryson Elfin MK1 won the first race from Danish visitor Jac Nellemann, in an Alfa Dana. The order was reversed in the second race. Nellemann won again on Sunday morning, before Olissoff returned to balance the ledger in the fourth race.

In class two, Martin Bullock, of West Australia, in a Lotus, won all four races. Auckland's Noel Woodford set a lap record in his Gemini after a 10-second penalty for a jumped start in the first race. Clevedon-based Phil Foulkes, driving a Lotus, and former Southlander Grant Clearwater, in a Cooper, were also prominent.