MOMENTUM WITH PEDERSEN AS TEAM HEADS SOUTH
The momentum is with Ant Pedersen and the International Motorsport team heading into the second round of this year's BNT V8 Super Tourer NZ Series at Christchurch's Powerbuilt Tools Raceway at Ruapuna Park this weekend.
At the final round of the inaugural series at Powerbuilt Tools Raceway in November last year Pedersen was the third quickest qualifier and he and co-driver Alex Davison finished second overall, while at the opening round of the 2013 series at Hampton Downs last month Pedersen put the team's J.A.Russell Ltd-backed Ford Falcon on pole and finished a close second to Greg Murphy.
"We were definitely strong there (Christchurch) last year," says Pedersen, "and we're confident going back this weekend. The car was amazing over one lap at Hampton Downs and there's no reason why it can't be again - in qualifying and race trim - at Ruapuna."
Pedersen heads south second in the series point standings behind Greg Murphy and in front of Richard Moore and Shane van Gisbergen. The latter was quickest in both qualifying sessions and won the second race at the season-opening V8 Supercar series round in Adelaide last weekend and Pedersen says it is a sign of how highly regarded the local Super Tourer series is that drivers like veteran Greg Murphy and young guns van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlan are doing both this year.
"Shane and Scott come here with great confidence following their weekend in Australia and Murph beat us all last time at Hampton so we've got to go out there and take it to them."
Having enjoyed such a good start to the season Team Manager Nick Williamson says the trick now is not to overcomplicate things.
"All the elements are there. The challenge for us is to arrange them better than anyone else."
This weekend's meeting in Christchurch sees independent fuel supplier Gull join J.A.Russell Ltd, The New Zealand Herald's motoring supplement Driven, watch maker Tissot and international burger franchise Burger Fuel supporting Pedersen and the International Motorsport-run #96 Ford Falcon.
The format of this weekend's round in Christchurch is similar to that of the Hampton Downs one with practice and qualifying on Saturday and three races - over 12, 16 and 25 laps of the 3.33km Powerbuilt Tools Raceway circuit - on Sunday.
The round is being sponsored by Christchurch-based businessman Mike Pero under the Mike Pero Need for Speed Banner. As part of his promotion Pero has offered free admission on Saturday to all Christchurch school children and their parents.
This weekend's round is the second of seven this season with Pukekohe Park raceway hosting the third over the May 25/26 weekend.