John McIntyre and Simon Gilbertson have finally been confirmed as round one winners of the ENEOS North Island Endurance Series.
A chaotic finish to the first Three Hour race of the season at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park in May saw a downpour late in the piece.
In the space of two laps the circuit was wet and cars began to struggle in the slippery conditions. Some ended up in the gravel trap, which prompted the race to be red flagged.
McIntyre leapfrogged the race leading Wet & Forget Racing car driven by Simon Evans and Chris Hanley in the pit stop sequence. Despite McIntyre and Gilbertson appearing to finish first, Evans and Hanley were provisionally classified as winners.
However, due to a timing error the declared results were incorrect. That promoted a post-race protest by McIntyre and Gilbertson to seek an amendment of the results.
Extenuating circumstances meant a hearing couldn’t take place at the conclusion of round one. Instead, the hearing took place at Pukekohe Park on Friday ahead of the second round.
At the conclusion of the successful appeal McIntyre said he was happy with the outcome.
“We’re pleased to get our first win as a team,c McIntyre said.
“It’s been pretty hard work getting to this point. Now to have the points lead going into round two—we’re pretty ecstatic.
“We’ve worked really hard since we got the car last year. It’s been well documented that we had dramas to start with.
“The team are doing a great job. We think the guys are the quickest in the pit lane. It’s coming together nicely and we’ll continue to work hard and try to reach for the next podium.”
The hearing process saw the drivers and teams go through the race finish again and identify the problems that caused the confusion. By the completion McIntyre and Gilbertson were reclassified as winners while Evans and Hanley finished second.
McIntyre was particularly impressed with how the appeal was carried out.
“It was all very well handled, it was probably the best hearing process that I’ve ever been involved in. It’s been an easy process and we’ve got the right result.”
Gilbertson echoed McIntyres sentiments regarding the appeal said he was extremely pleased with how all the parties cooperated.
“I was very heartened by the Wet & Forget Racing team all the way through this,” he said.
“I was also very happy with the professionalism shown by MotorSport New Zealand too. They arrived at the right conclusion having seen all the data and understood the witness reports and video.
“The efforts of David Dovey and Kel McBeath really make me feel good, they need to be commended too. It’s great to see the people who own this series are right there in amongst the nitty gritty.”
Gilbertson also praised the Wet & Forget Racing team for ‘breaking the mould’ with their modified V8 SuperTourer Holden Commodore VF.
North Island Endurance Series President Kel McBeath said he was happy with the outcome and how the hearing was carried out.
“It was encouraging to see the teams and drivers conduct themselves at such a high level during the hearing,” he said.
“Everyone who was present acted in a professional manner and upheld sportsmanlike behaviour that we’ve become accustomed to within the series. We were stoked to come out of the hearing with everyone accepting the right outcome and decision was made.”
The win is the first for McIntyre and Gilbertson behind the wheel of their Porsche 911 991 GT3 Cup MR. They now lead the overall and GT-B standings with two rounds remaining.
Gilbertson and McIntyre will look to continue their good run of form with hopes of once again completing a one-stop strategy. However, they aren’t expecting to set the timesheets alight on the straight line speed dominant Pukekohe Park.
“We really have to play the 180 minutes. Without question we will qualify well down the order. I’m feeling more and more confident in the car. We seem to be able to handle most conditions. We don’t have the straight line speed but can get out of the corner quick.
“Pukekohe is a horsepower track and we lack that. We’ll try our hardest but we’ll pick up some ground in our one-stop mentality.”
The final race results throughout the field will be amended in due course with some non-finishers reclassified. A full round one result sheet is expected to be released this weekend.
The second round of the ENEOS North Island Endurance Series takes place at Pukekohe Park on June 16. For more information visit the North Island Endurance Series Facebook page. Tickets are available on the gate or via iTicket.co.nz.