Jonny Reid and Sam Fillmore have won the Golden Homes North Island Endurance Series 3-Hour title after taking victory in today’s 3-Hour race in Taupo.
The duo were made to work for their spoils, however, with Paul and Ant Pedersen (Mercedes AMG GT3) keeping them busy throughout the race, the win never looking a certainty for either team.
It ultimately came down to a Reid and Ant Pedersen battle for the win, the former New Zealand A1GP driver running right behind the Mercedes for the entire middle portion of the race, setting the scene for a thrilling final hour.
It was only when Ant Pedersen dove into the pits as the race entered the final hour that Reid took the lead, which he retained after boxing the very next lap to cover Pedersen. Reid ultimately pulled away over the final half hour, taking the win by 17 seconds.
Glenn Smith and John De Veth (McLaren GT3 650S) finished on the podium once again, taking third following a late battle between themselves and the Audi R8 GT3 of Bill Riding and Steve Brooks. In that case it was De Veth who was able to power past Riding, ultimately taking third comfortably.
Without Gene Rollinson present, De Veth and Smith were classed in the Am/Am title race, awarded some stunning silverware as the first in class for the race.
A last minute splash-and-dash didn’t do Riding any favours, the Wolfbrook Audi losing two spots as a result with Jono Lester the benefactor to come home for fourth. Heremana Malmezac took the early stint in the #910 Porsche 991.2 Cup MR, with Lester and himself being the first of the Class 2 cars home.
Tom Alexander also gained a spot following Riding’s stop, finishing fifth following Beziac’s early stint where he was forced to battle Lance Hughes over the early stages before taking the position to handover from sixth.
Riding and Brooks ended up sixth, giving the team a welcome return to the points having been forced out of the Hampton Downs race with mechanical difficulties. That position was enough for them to be awarded the overall Am/Am trophy.
Hughes and Chris van der Drift rounded out proceedings, taking a good haul of points for their New Zealand Endurance Championship campaign which continues when the South Island Endurance Series gets underway at Ruapuna in September.
Image: Neville Bailey