Round 2 - Anyone's weekend at Highlands

It’s never been closer for the V8 Utes in 12 years in terms of parity and how closely matched all of the Ford and Holden machines are and that showed at the first round at Pukekohe Park last month when pretty much the whole field was split across testing, qualifying and the three races by just a few tenths of a second.

The 2018-2019 title fight got underway in style with Glen Collinson emerging as the early pace setter with two race wins and his first overall round win, and fast lady Alexandra Whitley caught everyone’s attention with a polished drive in the second race to move through the field, take the lead on the last lap and become the first female in the 12 year history of the category to bag a race win.

So heading into this weekend at the fabulous Highlands Motorsport Park, it’s Collinson ahead on the points and like Peter ‘Kaos’ Ward, Brett ‘The Scud’ Rudd and Geoff ‘SOS’ Spencer, he heads to the track with a small advantage having already had a racing weekend here when the series last visited in 2014. Since then the utes have got faster and there are a few more Ford FG models but Collinson reckons he’ll be straight back into the groove.

“It’s an awesome track and we were quick back in 2014 on debut with the car, so we should just slot straight back into a strong pace as we’ve obviously got a lot more development in the car and a far greater understanding of it,” he explained.

Hot on his heels will be the two drivers who were the biggest threats at Pukekohe – Matt ‘Stinger’ Spratt in the Primogrow Holden and seasoned campaigner and multiple NZ motorsport champion Paul ‘Auto’ Manuell in the SuperFreight Holden.  Ward, however, was also super quick and super smooth at Pukekohe and aside from a tiny error in missing a gear, would almost certainly have won a race. He’ll be a threat this weekend as will Whitley, who is fast gaining a reputation as THE fastest lady in NZ. In that chasing pack is also likely to be Andrew ‘Hireman’ Porter in his Holden – two fastest race laps in Pukekohe show he’s definitely got plenty of pace.

Brett ‘The Scud’ Rudd jumped back into the hot seat at Pukekohe in the ex-championship winning Holden formerly raced by Richard Moore and should be a pace setter here as he has circuit expertise too. And watch out for the blue Coresteel Holden of ‘SOS’ Spencer. He’s due a great result and in his swansong season in the category could well be a factor in Cromwell.  Simon Ussher (United Freight Ford FG) and Dave ‘Shaggy’ Lowe (Ryco 82C Ford BF) complete the compact, but high quality field.