Heremana Malmezac (Porsche 991.2 Cup) has driven to a commanding victory in the Golden Homes North Island Endurance Series 1-Hour in Taupo, topping teammate Francois Beziac by 53 seconds.
Victory was far from assured for Malmezac, who proved consistency and patience was key as he tucked in behind Nick Chester (Marc GT) off the start to inherit the lead on Lap 8 when Chester’s Marc GT was black flagged for leaking fuel from the overflow pipe, forcing the new car to the lane.
Luke Manson (Porsche 991.2) finished third, the podium resulting in him being crowned the 2023 Golden Homes North Island Endurance Series Class 2 & 3 1-Hour champion.
Manson and Beziac had dueled over the earlier stages, the former initially holding the upper hand until Beziac was finally able to regain his starting spot on Lap 13.
Chester recovered extremely well from his early stop in the Marc GT, charging through to field to finish fourth, and set the fastest lap of a 1.27.9.
Steve Brooks and Bill Riding (Porsche 992 Cup) rounded out the top 5, with Riding driving a strong second stint.
Adam Julian (Porsche 997.2) and Steve Sullivan (Porsche 991 GT3 Cup) were sixth and seventh respectively in Class 2, with Nick Ross (Nissan Altima) earning a hard-fought eighth having spun but quickly recovered towards the end of the race.
Martin Neill (Porsche 991.2 GT3 Cup) and Sean Kirkpartrick (Porsche 997 GT3 Cup) rounded out the Class 3 top 10.
Joel Giddy was the first Class 3 runner home, coming sixth overall following a great battle with Brock Cooley (Mazda RX7), Giddy finally able to get past on lap 7 before pulling clear.
There was also an early good fight between Class 4 & 5 front-runners Scott Smith (Seat Leon) and Brett Sullivan (BMW Z4 Coupe), the latter holding firm until Smith was able to pass on the 10-minute mark.
Unfortunate gearbox issues dampened Smith’s impressive drive, however, with Ayrton Hodson able to bring the Z4 home for class honours and take the 2023 Golden Homes North Island Endurance Series Class 4 & 5 Championship.
Chris Wall and Layton Hammond (Honda Civic) powered home as the first of the Class 5 runners, topping Cormac Murphy who continues to look right at home in the Toyota 86.
Brooklyn Horan was an unfortunate DNF, the youngster showing immense skill behind the wheel of the second Toyota 86, battling hard with Murphy race long but forced to withdraw following difficulties as the race entered its final 15 minutes.
Shaun Varney was the other victim of mechanical gremlins, the BMW 318i only lasting a lap before it was forced to box to withdraw, all but ending his championship hopes after finishing second at Hampton Downs.