Simon Evans has claimed victory in the first race of the BNT NZ Touring Car Championship at Taupo this afternoon in what were wet and trying conditions for competitors.
Evans, driving his Smeg Holden, held his first place qualifying position off the start, fending off Nick Ross in his Nissan Altima into turn one.
Evans then grew a comfortable lead before a safety car came out with three laps to go to rescue the stranded car of Nick Farrier.
With the track drying, and the field all managing the condition of their tyres, Evans was able to maintain his lead on the restart and finished ahead of Ross and Tom Alexander who finished third in his Holden.
“The track was drying so you have to keep in the back of your mind not to punish the wet tyres too much. I did conserve there after about four laps just in case a safety car came out towards the end, which it did,” said Evans post race.
“The car is really good this weekend in either dry or wet conditions. I’d prefer it to be dry tomorrow but it’s looking 50/50.”
Class Two was won by Invercargill driver Liam MacDonald in his Discount Tyres Ford Falcon who managed a late race pass from fellow Southlander Jamie Conroy in his Allied 24/7 Fuel Ford.
Conroy lead for much of the race, until the safety car period where MacDonald managed to get by shortly after the restart going onto win the race with Conroy settling for second.
“It was really wet at the start, but by mid way through it was pretty much a dry race,” says MacDonald.
“It was hard going, I managed to flat spot a tyre on the first corner of the first lap, so I had to manage that as well.”
“I was chasing Jamie as hard as I could, he was quicker in certain parts of the circuit and I was faster in others.”
“It is my first time racing here at Taupo, so I’m pretty happy to get a win first time out.”
The Class Two podium was rounded out by Simon Fleming.
The BNT NZ Touring Cars have two more races on Sunday.