Drifter excited by new wheels

The Nissan Silvia S14, newly acquired by Christchurch driver Phil Sutherland, waits for action at...
The Nissan Silvia S14, newly acquired by Christchurch driver Phil Sutherland, waits for action at the Waimate 50 event in Waimate last weekend. Photo: supplied.
Christchurch drifter Phil Sutherland is perfectly poised to take the opening round of the national drifting championship by storm, as he looks to challenge the competition in his newly acquired Nissan Silvia S14.

Sutherland hopes developments over the off-season will put him in good stead for the first round of the championship series, to be held under the roof at Forsyth Barr Stadium on December 2-3.

His biggest move of late is the purchase of a former championship winning Nissan Silvia S14.

The Silvia, previously raced by Gaz Whiter, won four titles between 2008 and 2014.

When the opportunity came up to buy the championship-winning car, Sutherland took it off Whiter’s hands.

"It’s chalk and cheese really. I rang him and bought it straight away because that was an opportunity not to be missed," he said.

"I hate to say it, but the V8 is easy. There’s so much torque and power, it’s just so different to drive."

Two seasons ago, Sutherland crashed and rolled his Nissan Cefiro in style under lights at Mount Smart Stadium.

He followed up that effort a year later at Tauranga’s Baypark Stadium, when he slammed his Nissan Laurel sideways into a concrete wall.

Now, Sutherland (34) says he hopes he can come out the other side of round one unscathed at the stadium and will relish the support from South Island fans.

"So it is third time lucky, really. I’ve got unfinished business with concrete jungles. I’d be happy to get a clean round without writing the car off. But the hype of having it in my own island will just be awesome.

"We had a lot of trouble with the Skyline, and I’ve never had a good chance to win with anything. You need a championship car that keeps going and is reliable."

Sutherland returned to New Zealand only last week, after competing in the World Time Attack Challenge at Sydney Motorsport Park.

He qualified 13th out of 36 competitors and was then eliminated in the first round.

Following his Australian expedition, he returned to New Zealand to compete in the Waimate 50 last weekend where was the overall and people’s choice winner.

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