Waite wins as others falter

The Audi R8 driven by Highlands Motorsport Park's professional driver, Andrew Waite, leads...
The Audi R8 driven by Highlands Motorsport Park's professional driver, Andrew Waite, leads another Audi R8, with Jonny Reid at the wheel, during the South Island Endurance Series three-hour race at Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell on Saturday. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/EUAN CAMERON
It was a double thumbs up for Highlands Motorsport Park's professional driver Andrew Waite as his team claimed victory in the three-hour endurance race and he bested his boss and colleague again.

After a safety-car unsettled South Island Endurance Series' second round on his home track on Saturday, Waite was the third driver of the Audi R8 LMS, taking over the reins after Christchurch's Dale Chapman and Queenstown's Marc Doran finished their stints in the super car.

In the final hour, the race looked as if it would come down to a three-way fight to the finish between the Aston Martin GT3, pedalled by Waite's workmate Damon Leitch, who shared the drive with Highlands' owner Tony Quinn and the Jonny Reid-Neil Foster Audi R8.

After numerous lead changes, the two Highlands drivers were playing cat-and-mouse, chasing each other at the front in the closing 40 minutes, when Leitch was forced to pull off the track with a broken rear axle.

It was the Aston Martin's second consecutive retirement, after it had a DNF at the first round with a broken gearbox.

As the race paused for a safety car period in the final 20 minutes, Reid was devastated to detect a leaking tyre, after he was unable to avoid running over some debris on the track.

He pitted with only 13 minutes left on the clock and made a desperate and determined drive from the back of the pack, charging through to third place.

Waite recalled November's 2018 New Zealand Endurance final at Highlands - where former A1GP racer Reid snatched the win in the final six minutes - and was relieved to be on the podium's number one spot this time around.

"Feels pretty awesome to be fair. Deja vu with Jonny behind me - unfortunately he had an issue and same with Damon," he said.

The Chapman-Doran-Waite Audi also won Class E (GT3 `Type') and now takes an overall lead in the series from Foster-Reid.

Bringing their McLaren 650S GT3 south for a one-off SIES appearance, Taranaki's Glenn Smith and John DeVeth, of Hamilton, took over second place from the Simon Gilbertson-John McIntyre Chev Camaro GT3 in the closing stages of the race, as it faded to fifth, with only the fourth to sixth gears left at McIntyre's disposal.

As for the Otago drivers, the Dunedin-based Black brothers Stu and Arron were the top finishers in 12th overall, with a Class A (0-2000cc) win in their BMW E46 WTC. Their race was uneventful as they bought the car across the line mid-pack.

"It went pretty much as planned.

"It was about getting it home and we did what we needed to do," Stu said.

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