Cambridge driver Nick Ross has had a challenging but positive weekend in his Nissan Altima as he competed in the opening round of the BNT NZ Touring Car Championship at Pukekohe.
Topping the times in practice and qualifying second on Friday, the weekend was looking promising for the former national champion.
In race one, Ross held off current champion Simon Evans of Auckland to lead for the first eight of the 14-lap race.
His progress was slowed however when one of the pins holding down his bonnet came loose, causing it to lift, acting like a parachute and slowing the speed of his car.
Ross was unable to hold back Evans, and eventually had to settle for second place.
“I loaded the engine on the start and used the torque to get away cleanly, I knew that if I could get ahead of him into turns two and three then I could probably hold him off,” says Ross.
“I don’t know what caused the bonnet to come up, because Simon and I didn’t really touch, once it did come loose, it acted liked a parachute and slowed me down. I think it was just one of those things.”
Two further races were held on Sunday, but the woes were to continue resulting in two DNFs.
After the race back in the pit garage, his team discovering an engine failure was not the problem, in fact the oil line had been damaged from a piece of debris cutting through it.
Whilst leading the third and final race, the oil pump belt on the car broke on lap two causing the car to shut down.
Despite the issues of the weekend, Ross says he is happy with the performance of his Nissan Altima.
“I’m pleased with the pace of the car at the moment, it’s looking promising and good to be up the front battling with Simon. We’ll go away and look at what caused those issues and remedy it before the next round at Taupo.”
“The car is fast and we can be up the front, we just need to make sure we are reliable.”
After the first of six rounds, Ross sits sixth in the point’s standings; 158 points behind championship leader Simon Evans.
Round two of the BNT NZ Touring Cars will be held at Taupo, Dec 10-11.
Nick Ross, the TOTAL Lubricants Nissan Altima and Concept Motorsport will again be supported this season by TOTAL Lubricants, Jim Wright Nissan, RYCO 24•7, C&R Developments, Team Wino, Auto Trail Ltd, 82C, and Tyre Traders.