Castrol BMW Race Driver Series – round 5

Press Release – Castrol BMW Race Driver Series

Thousandths separate BMW racers at weekend festival

Press release: Castrol BMW Race Driver Series – round 5, 21-22 February.
For immediate release: Friday 27 February 2015.

A mere 0.009 of a second separated race winner Peter Ball from Ash Blewett at the weekend’s Tasman Revival race meeting held at Pukekohe Park Raceway. The two are 2L category rivals in the six round Castrol BMW Race Driver series. The fifth and penultimate round for the 2014/2015 season title saw a total of 78 cars and drivers take to the South Auckland raceway.

Divided in to three competition categories, Auckland’s Oxton won the round in the E30 class while Ash Blewett (Auckland) topped the 2L standings and Robert Berggren (Auckland) dominated the open class.

The 21-22 February weekend comprised a three race programme (eight laps each) – as part of the overall event that included multiple historic categories.

BMW Open category (A+B):
The muscle of the BMW racing cars in New Zealand the Pukekohe weekend was home to most of the field, including Group B driver David Farmer and his M3. Holding a best result of fifth, gained inSunday afternoon’s final race, Farmer gets double use from his car. Being road legal he drives it to and from the event – using it to commute to work as well as indulge his passion for performance racing.
Out front it was Andre Mortimer who set the bar for the weekend with the fastest time in qualifying. Overtaken and relegated to third in the opening race the weekend was to get worse with a tenth inSunday’s reverse grid race. A late redemption of second in the third and final race wasn’t enough to salvage the lost ground – finishing third for the round behind Sunday morning race winner Barry Kirk-Burnnand in the M3 GTR.
Second fastest in qualifying was a small blip on the radar of series leader Berggren. Winning the opening race and third in the second (having to work his way through from last), Berggren’s near three second winning margin in the final kept him well atop the round and overall standings.

BMW Open 2L category:
A grid of 24 cars started the weekend with the bull’s eye on point’s leader Graham Ball. Instead it was race hardened youngster Ash Blewett who topped qualifying and led the field to the chequered flag for the Saturday opening race.
Returning to the series after a break that included racing in the Toyota 86 series 24-year-old Blewett had scorching pace from his 320i. Originally an E30 category winning car Blewett moved to the higher-performance 2L class and has incrementally developed it since 2012. The M20 engine package has recently had a revised intake and exhaust manifold package – to make the most of the newly fitted camshaft. Reaping reliability rewards having switched to locally made parts has allowed Blewett to push even harder.
That, and his recent experience of Pukekohe behind the wheel of the Toyota, became evident duringSunday morning’s reverse grid race.

Starting last, and in wet conditions, Blewett came to within a bumper of winning the race – finishing behind winner Peter Ball by 0.009sec.
Third, after some deftly placed elbow manoeuvres to keep other challengers at bay was Alex Schultz.
Despite the rain all 23 cars that started the race, finished.
Sunday afternoon’s final race was an eight-lap tussle between Seddon, Ball and Blewett for the top three spots. Swinging Seddon’s way on the final lap he headed Blewett across the line by one second.
Marty Seddon’s final race fastest lap was also enough to claim the class record at Pukekohe – after Blewett twice raised the bar in the weekend’s earlier races.

BMW E30 category:
Further split in two to cater for the 42 car grid the close competition continued to illustrate how competitive the cars are. Originally the domain for gentleman racers its affordability and mechanical simplicity has attracted a number of younger drivers like Oxton, Royce Rollinson, Matt Griffen, Reid Harker and Castrol BMW Race Driver Series scholarship winner Tom Grooten.

While point’s leader Marty Irvine started the weekend with a modest advantage, the younger Richard Oxton was closing fast having secured successive round victories building up to the series penultimate round.
The pair made it hard for the rest of the field with matching points from their respective group qualifying and opening race results. Oxton then made the break during the Sunday morning reverse-grid race – surging from last to first by the sixth lap. Irvine was unable to match that result in his respective group race – which elevated Oxton to the front for the weekend finale.
The 29-year-old, whose racing prowess was honed alongside karting graduates Simon Evans, Josh Hart, Tom Blomqvist and Will Bamber, was jumped at the start by second placed Irvine, resulting in a hammer and tongs battle for race honours. The fervour was shared by the chasing pack – creating an electric finish as the chequered flag appeared. A fastest last lap by Oxton got him to within 0.065sec of Irvine with Matt Griffen a paltry 0.884sec further behind. Fourth was Royce Rollinson a further 3.62sec adrift.

Adding the benefit of a point’s bonus for the fastest time in that final lap elevated Oxton to his third and successive round win of the season – eating in to the overall advantage held by second for the weekend Irvine.

Leading by 109 points Irvine and the rest of the Castrol BMW Race Driver Series have a five week break until the season’s final round – being held at Hampton Downs 28-29 March.

ENDS.

Full race results can be found on the website page: http://www.mylaps.com/en/events/1109141
Points and series information can be found on the website: http://www.bmwraceseries.co.nz

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