The Fuchs Coronet Peak Hill Climb, near Queenstown, on Saturday attracted 48 competitors and hundreds of spectators from around New Zealand. Photo by James Beech.
The winding access road ascending to the Coronet Peak
skifield between Queenstown and Arrowtown presents a
challenge to motorists whatever the season, never mind more
competitive drivers in supercharged vehicles racing against
the clock after a snowstorm.
• Coronet Pek Hill Climb
Tricky as the road can be at the best of times, 48 drivers in
46 cars still thundered up the mountain on Saturday for the
return, by popular demand, of the Fuchs Coronet Peak Hill
Drivers hailed from around the South Island, for the most
part, to form the largest field in the prestigious 40-year
history of the event.
Individual drivers raced from a standing start about 1km
beyond the Skippers Rd turn-off. They navigated at speed an
unrelenting series of hairpin bends and chicanes to cross the
finish line near the skifield base building.
Hundreds of motorsport fans watched intently from designated
areas while stewards and Queenstown firefighters monitored
Outram driver Glenn Frew, at the wheel of a red Mitsubishi
EVO, clocked the fastest hill climb time of 88.72sec - within
half a second of the record set by Dunedin's Bruce Saxton in
Tony Quinn, a Scotsman based in Australia, was second in a
black Nissan GT-R in 89.50sec.
Grant Aitken, of Queenstown, was third in a white Mitsubishi
EVO 9 at 93.27.
A total of 27 drivers and their modified cars reconvened for
the Tucker's Beach Gravel Hill Climb on a private unsealed
track for more individual races yesterday.
The hill climbs were hosted by the Queenstown Car Club in
association with Motorsport New Zealand.
Stuart Mclean, vice-president, last remaining founding member
of the club and steward, said he thought it was "a tremendous
day out for motorsport in the Wakatipu".
The Coronet Peak Hill Climb incorporated a qualifying round
of the Motorsport NZ National Hill Climb Championship, which
holds its sealed final on Denniston Rd, Westport, on February
23 and gravel final on Barnetts Face Rd, Westport, on