Top drivers compete on track
Race driver Simon Evans has already proved he can beat BNT V8 SuperTourers champion Greg Murphy and is aiming to do it again in the TR Group 250 at Pukekohe this weekend.
The Lynfield resident was ahead of fellow Holden driver Murphy for a long time during round two of the competition at Manfeild in Palmerston North last month till a minor electrical problem slowed his car slightly.
Murphy praised Evans warmly and said he probably would not have been able to pass him if the problem had not cropped up.
‘‘I’ve evolved massively as a driver over the past season in SuperTourers and we’ve been getting the car’s setup in that sweet spot,’’ Evans, 23, says.
‘‘Pukekohe is Murph’s Turf and it’s going to be harder than Manfeild but I’m really excited by it.’’
Murphy’s V8 Supercar victories at Pukekohe in the early 2000s earned the track the nickname Turf’’.
‘‘I think Pukekohe is special to everybody,’’ Evans says. ‘‘ The sensation of going over that hill at 180kmh or more is a pretty cool feeling. You really know you’re alive there when you’ve got a brand-new set of tyres in qualifying, it really gets the heart going.’’
Murphy, now living back in Hawke’s Bay, enjoys fast tracks like Pukekohe, as his four victories in the Bathurst
‘‘Murph’s 1000km classic attest. And he is in hot form, having won all six races so far this season in the BNT V8 SuperTourers, feature class in the Hankook Super Series.
Apart from Evans, his strongest competition is likely to come from Aucklander Andre Heimgartner, in a Holden, and Hamilton Ford driver Ant Pedersen.
Qualifying is on Saturday and all three races on Sunday, with 15 of the 550hp V8s entered.
Top talent: Simon Evans and Greg Murphy on the podium at the last round at Manfeild.