Australian driver Jason Bargwanna will be looking to continue his winning ways as round five of the BNT NZ Touring Car Championship heads to Manfeild this weekend.
At round four at Teretonga near Invercargill last month, Bargwanna came away the round win as championship leader Simon Evans struck trouble with officials. Evans copping two 10-second penalties for false starts in two of the weekend’s races – pushing him down the finishing order.
Teretonga turned on the best racing of the season with Evans and Bargwanna battling it out in wet and slippery conditions. Bargwanna claiming a win and two second place finishes across the weekend’s three races.
Simon Evans in his Smeg Holden Commodore leads the championship with 838 points, from Tom Alexander in his Kenny Smith Motorsport Holden Commodore on 678, with Bargwanna in his Richards Team Motorsport Toyota Camry in third on 579.
For Bargwanna, the 2000 Bathurst 1000 winner, he’ll be looking to continue the Teretonga winning form this weekend at Manfeild – a circuit he has traditionally gone well at.
“I really enjoy Manfeild, we’ve won a few of the Jason Richards trophy’s there. It’s a great circuit, really good to race on. It’s critical to get the car right, and I think with a few of the strengths we have with our Toyota Camry, we should go alright,” says Bargwanna.
“For us it’s not about winning a championship now, it’s about winning races and winning rounds.”
In class two, it’s the unstoppable Liam MacDonald that the field is chasing.
MacDonald has a healthy lead of 864 points from Brad Lathrope on 702; Jamie Conroy sits in third on 542, with Chelsea Herbert in fourth on 529.
Conroy and Herbert are both capable of catching Lathrope with two rounds of the championship to go.
MacDonald has won every round in the championship to date in his GT Radial NZ Falcon, winning the last seven races in a row, a sequence started at Taupo in December.
MacDonald says he is looking forward to the challenge of racing at Manfeild, having never competed there before.
“It looks like a really cool track, we’ll try to learn it as best we can and go from there and see how the rest of the weekend plays out.”