Collis pushes Whiddett in fifth round of drifting championships

Press Release – Cody’s D1NZ National Drifting Championship
Auckland’s ‘Mad Mike Whiddett (Red Bull/Speedhunters Mazda RX7) finally did come out on top. But local driver Cody Collis (Budget Tyre & Alignment Nissan S13) pushed the high-profile Aucklander all the way at the fifth round of the Cody’s D1NZ National Drifting Championship at Christchurch’s Powerbuilt Tools Raceway on Sunday.

After just edging out Whiddett for fifth spot in qualifying in the morning Collis battled his way past Robee Nelson (Koba Batteries Nissan S15), Chris Jackson (SurFab Nissan S15) and V8 Supercar ace Shane Van Gisbergen (Federal Tyre/DKM Fabrication Nissan Skyline R32) before meeting and beating Tauranga driver Drew Donovan (Mag & Turbo Tauranga Nissan S15) to guarantee himself a spot alongside Whiddett in the final.

However, just when it looked like the ultimate upset was on the cards, and Collis would beat Whiddett in their final battle, the Christchurch driver was forced to forfeit his last run thanks to an electrical problem, handing the win to Whiddett with Donovan third and last season’s Pro-Am champion, Cam Vernon (Skinny Mobile Nissan Skyline R32) from Auckland, fourth.

The other Christchurch driver contesting this year’s Cody’s D1NZ championship, Troy ‘The Family Guy’ Forsythe, qualified seventh but only got as far as the Top 16 before being beaten by Auckland driver Gary Tenana (Black on Black Nissan Laurel).

As well as winning the round outright, ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett also sealed victory in the three-round BP Ultimate Triple Crown series-within-a-series at Ruapuna Park, earning himself a year’s worth of BP Ultimate 98 octane petrol.

It was a tough weekend for some of the other top-liners as well, defending series champion Curt Whittaker (Autosure Warranties 2JZ Nissan Skyline R34) fighting back from qualifying in 20th position to beat Ben Belcher (Green Brothers Racing Mazda RX7) in the Top 32 and local driver Joel Counter (Achilles Tyre Nissan S14) in the Top 16 only to go down to eventual round winner Whiddett (albeit after their battle having to go One More Time (OMT) before the judges could split the pair) in the Top 8.

Fellow Aucklander Andrew Redward (Achilles Tyre Mazda RX7 V8) was another to take an early shower, qualifying second but only managing to win one battle – over Shane Allen – before going down to Cam Vernon when he broke an axle in their Top 16 encounter.

Vernon went on to enjoy his most competitive showing to date this season, taking on and beating Gary Tenana in the Top 8 and only being stopped by ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett in the Top 4. Also enjoying his best run to date in his fledgling drifting career was V8 Supercar star Shane van Gisbergen who qualified fourth and quickly came to grips with Pro-Am front-runner Daren Kelly’s Nissan Skyline R32 (which he was offered when the Federal Tyre Ford Falcon V8 he usually shares with Shane Allen broke a crank in practice) to win his first two battles before losing to a rampant Cody Collis in their Top 8 encounter.

Meanwhile the week didn’t start particularly well for the pair but it ended with a flourish for Drew Donovan and partner Jodie Verhulst.

Donovan and tuner Lin Chen were still putting the finishing touches to Donovan’s V8-powered Mag & Turbo Tauranga Nissan S15 at the beginning of the week and only just made the ferry across Cook Strait. Everything seemed to come right once they got to Christchurch however with Donovan enjoying his best showing to date after battling his way to third place in D1 and Verhulst back on the Pro-Am support class podium with a third place of her own behind the wheel of her Mag & Turbo Tauranga Toyota Supra.

Like the D1 one, the Pro-Am competition also went down to the wire, the top qualifier, 17-year-old Auckland secondary school student Joe Kukutai (AK Auto Customs Nissan Skyline R32) looking set to claim his first round win of the season until he went off track in his second Top 2 battle with fellow Aucklander Darren Kelly (DKM Fabrication Nissan Skyline R32).

That gave Kelly the advantage and the win with Jodie Verhulst third after also needing a second battle before she could wrest the final podium spot off Aucklander Mike Thorley (Femme Fatale Nissan Laurel).

Points wise, former D1NZ champion Daniel ‘Fanga Dan’ Woolhouse (Castrol Edge Holden Commodore V8), continues to lead the overall standings with just one round (in Auckland) to go, despite not getting past the Top 16 in Christchurch thanks to on-form local driver Phil Sutherland (Nissan Cefiro).

With a second win in as many rounds, however, runner-up Whiddett has closed the gap from 53 points to 28.5, with Andrew Redward just 6.5 points back in third, setting the scene for an all-action final in Auckland later this month.

For more information go to the Cody’s D1NZ facebook page.
2012/13 CODY’S D1NZ National Drifting Championship Series
Qualifying

D1NZ
1. Daynom Templeman (NAC Insurance 2JZ Mazda RX7) 86.5 points
2. Andrew Redward (Achilles Tyre Mazda RX7 V8) 85
3. Gaz Whiter (Tectaloy Nissan S14 V8) 84
4. Shane Van Gisbergen (Federal Tyre /DKM Fabrication Nissan Skyline R32) 83.5
5. Cody Collis (Budget Tyres Nissan S13) 83.5
6. Mike Whiddett (Red Bull/Speedhunters Mazda RX7) 83.2

D1NZ
Round Top 3 & points
1. ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett 104 points
2. Cody Collis 92
3. Drew Donovan 78.5

BP Ultimate Triple Crown
1. ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett 265
2. Daniel ‘Fanga Dan’ Woolhouse 256
3. Curt Whittaker 219.5
4. Andrew Redward 215
5. Daynom Templeman 192
6. Gaz Whiter 154
7. Nico Reid 150
8. Shane Van Gisbergen 147.25
9. Troy Forsythe 147
10. Zak Pole 146

Points after Rnd 5 of 6
D1NZ
1. Daniel ‘Fanga Dan’ Woolhouse 426
2. ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett 397.5
3. Andrew Redward 391
4. Curt Whittaker 354.5
5. Nico Reid 308
6. Daynom Templeman 305

Pro-Am
Qualifying
1. Joe Kukutai (AK Auto Customs Nissan Skyline R32) 83.5
2. Darren Kelly (DKM Fabrication Nissan Skyline R32) 80
3. Jodie Verhulst (Mag n Turbo Tauranga/Elf Toyota Supra) 72
4. Jacob Hakaraia (DTM Nissan S13) 68
5. Adam Davies (Smith and Davies Nissan S14) 65.5
6. Todd Curtis (Keto Toyota Corolla) 64

Pro-Am
Round Top 3 & points
1. Darren Kelly 110
2. Joe Kukutai 100
3. Jodie Verhulst 86

Pro-Am
Points after Rnd 4 of 6

1. Darren Kelly 427
2. Matthew Lauder 394
3. Jodie Verhulst 366
4. Jacob Hakaraia 339
5. Joe Kukutai 323.5
6. Michael Thorley 309.5

CAPTIONS










Cody’s D1NZ Christchurch round podium from left Cody Collis, ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett and Drew Donovan. Pro-Am podium from left Joe Kukutai, Darren Kelly and Jodie Verhulst. Eventual round winner ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett battling fellow Aucklander Zak Pole. Local hero Cody Collis. V8 Supercar ace Shane van Gisbergen in Darren Kelly’s Nissan Skyline R32 battling eventual fourth placegetter Cam Vernon. And fans packed Christchurch’s Powerbuilt Tools Raceway for the Cody’s D1NZ National Drifting Championship event. Photo credit: Erron Soon for Cody’s.

Calendar
Rnd 1: Oct 26-27 2012 Manfeild Feilding
Rnd 2: Dec 01-02 2012 Whangarei
Rnd 3: Jan 19-20 2013 Baypark Tauranga
Rnd 4: March 01-02 2013 Hampton Downs incl. Legends Challenge
Rnd 5 March 30-31 2013 Powerbuilt Tools Raceway @ Ruapuna Park Christchurch
Rnd 6: April 06-07 2013 Grand Final Pukekohe Park Raceway

ENDS

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