Ben Clucas Racing

Toyota Racing Series Pukekohe November 3rd, 4th and 5th.

Winning the final race of the weekend - and the Denny Hulme trophy was an excellent end to a very difficult weekend.

 

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Having won the New Zealand Motor Cup earlier in the year at Pukekohe, the team were naturally optimistic entering the weekend, but testing didn't go well. It was difficult to know how they were doing- Ben did not use new tyres whereas most of his rivals did. However qualifying 8th - half a second of the pace - was very disappointing on a simple circuit like Pukekohe. Set-up changes were made.

The first race started well, up to 5th in the first lap, and 4th by the second. Unfortunately by then the first 3 had pulled well clear and Ben completed the race in a lonely 4th. 5th fastest lap determined his grid position for the following race.

The second race started well too, and the ESWA car was soon up to 3rd, before a missed gear dropped him back to 5th. While moving back up the field a controversial clash occurred when Ben attempted to overtake Daynom Templeman up his inside. The two collided damaging the ESWA car's front wing. Templeman was angry and in a subsequent safety car period repeatedly drove into the rear of the ESWA car, puncturing a tyre. Ben pitted, changing the nose and tyre just in time to allow him to restart at the back of the field. A storming drive - and a bit of good fortune - gave 7th on the road, 6th in the final classification, by the flag. Unfortunately the officials took the view that both Ben and Templeman were to blame for the incidents and penalised both 60 seconds and 30 championship points. The ESWA team thought this very unfair and appealed. Although this was turned down, the appeal is being pursued and the final outcome is not yet determined.

The final race was started from grid 7. With some good overtaking moves Ben was soon up to third, before a safety car period closed up the pack, after which the ESWA car moved into second . Then, as the leader lapped a back marker he spun, gifting the win to Ben.

 

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