NZ title to Riberas, Kelly

The Heart of Racing Team of Alex Riberas and Darren Kelly won the New Zealand Endurance Championship three-hour title at Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell on Saturday.

After qualifying quickest, the pairing led from start to finish in their Aston Martin Vantage GT3 despite a concerted effort from the pursuing pack.

“It’s an absolute honour to be here and be part of an unbelievable group of people and cause at Starship Hospital,’’ Riberas said.

“It’s incredible to see what Darren [Kelly] has achieved this year and what he has learned.”

Defending champions Neil Foster and Jonny Reid finished second in their Audi R8 GT3.

Scott O’Donnell and Liam Lawson were third, also in an Audi.

As well as the competition for the overall title, five individual class titles were also on the line, Riberas and Kelly claiming class E (GT3).

In class D (GT), the Holden V8 of Lance Hughes and Simon Evans beat a handful of Porsche contenders.

Cameron Davies and Flyn Mitchell (Mazda RX8) were quick enough to take advantage of others’ demise in class C, winning their first national title.

Class B (2001-3500cc) was a battle of TCRs, the title going to Barry Moore and Tim Mackersy (Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR).

Hayden Paddon struck trouble on the opening lap and had to pit to remove the front splitter and played catch-up, eventually finishing 13th overall and second in class.

The competitive class A (0-2000cc) title went to Mark Taylor and Vaughan Moloney (Honda Integra).


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