NZ Performance Car - - Contents -

es­i­dents of the Te Marua val­ley didn’t know what hit them when the Link ECU D1NZ Na­tional Drift­ing Cham­pi­onship and the rest of the NZ-Xtreme Motorsport Se­ries rolled into the cap­i­tal over Jan­uary 12 and 13 to kick off its sea­son at the Max Mo­tors Welling­ton Fam­ily Speedway Arena. The week lead­ing up saw near-round-the-clock work car­ried out to trans­form the speedway into a venue suit­able for not only drift­ing but also ral­ly­cross, util­ity task ve­hi­cles (UTVs), and Su­per Moto. Fifty truck­loads of con­crete would end up be­ing pumped into the venue, but not be­fore 55 truck­loads of road millings were laid, 700 sheets of ply in­stalled, a bridge got made from three 40-foot con­tain­ers, and fences and speedway walls got re­moved.

It was no easy feat to pull off, but, ask any of the drift driv­ers, and they rave about the fig­ure-eight lay­out, with two long bank rides to start and com­plete the run, with a tighter and tech­ni­cal mid­sec­tion.

Be­ing the sea­son opener, the pits were filled with new cars,

new liv­er­ies, and even some old faces mak­ing a re­turn to the fray, in­clud­ing four-time cham­pion Gaz Whiter, back in the ‘SmartCookie8’ S14, al­though the champ would suf­fer a few grem­lins dur­ing the event, in­clud­ing a bro­ken gear­box, ham­per­ing his re­turn.

Plenty of new faces lined up against him in the Pro class, in­clud­ing Pro-Sport class of 2017 grad­u­ates Cody Pullen Burry, Ben Jenk­ins, and Jase Brown. All three rook­ies were clearly ea­ger to stamp their mark on the field, al­though Cody was forced (like many) to deal with me­chan­i­cal is­sues. Jase made the big­gest im­pres­sion — if his blown 1UZ-FE S13 hadn’t done that al­ready — qual­i­fy­ing sixth, with Ben closely be­hind in sev­enth. Tak­ing out the top spot was Ben’s sta­ble­mate and the sole Aussie com­pet­ing, Matty Hill, in the 4mance Au­to­mo­tive S15. Matty laid down a pair of killer runs, the best an 87-point run, nar­rowly nudg­ing out the likes of Dave Steed­man and Daynom Tem­ple­man, in what was a

The track lay­out proved a favourite with the driv­ers and pro­duced some qual­ity door-to-door driv­ing, with the tight tech­ni­cal mid­sec­tion a real lever

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