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Dippie, in a Porsche 991 GT3RS, headed into the third round tied on points with father and son pairing Garry and Ben Derrick, racing a Porsche 991 GT3, and just needed to finish ahead to take the overall title.
He was up to the task, finishing fifth overall at the Timaru International raceway at Levels, one place in front of the Derricks’ Porsche.
It was a continuation of the second round, with Marco Schelp, in a Porsche 997 Cup S, taking the win after lapping nearly all the field. Second home was the Ford Mustang of Sam Collins/Nick Ross, with Chris Henderson, of Dunedin, debuting his new Toyota GT86 in third.
“It’s really cool [to win] as my family are all here,” Schelp said.
“Last time my wife was with me at a race was in 2011 and I crashed. There was a lot of traffic for the whole race, but a lot of fun as everyone raced very clean.”
Schelp missed the opening round at Invercargill in September due to travel commitments. It was the Collins/Ross Mustang that won ahead of Dippie, with the Derricks third. Schelp won a fortnight ago in Christchurch, this time with the Derricks second and Dippie third.
The title advantage went to Dippie right from the start of last weekend’s race when Garry Derrick spun on the opening lap heading into the first turn.
“I was hit and went off the track and couldn’t get the car going. When I did the whole field had gone past,” Garry Derrick said.
From then it was playing catch-up, which they did, finding themselves right behind Dippie heading into the last eight minutes of the race.
A collision between the Milne Horne/Tim Horne Holden SuperTourer entry and Danny Whiting’s Porsche 991 resulted in the only safety car period of the race. This in turn bunched up the field, closing the gap between Dippie and Derrick.
“I was going to give it a good nudge but after the safety-car there was too much traffic to get through, which is disappointing.”
Dippie was always confident that he would be able to stay ahead for the remaining two laps before the chequered flag.
“I took it quietly as you have to finish these races, so it was a matter of bringing it home. I was aware of the Derricks catching me and wasn’t thrilled when the safety car came out. It was good racing and I was confident that I could stay ahead,” Dippie said.
Henderson, who had won in 2017 and 2018, returned to the track with his brand-new Toyota GT86. After a major crash in last season’s series, the Dunedin driver spent the last 12 months building the car, but ran out of time for the first two rounds.
“That [the race] was hard work, a lot of heat soak in the car and work to do for the team. We finished building it Thursday night. We did some installation laps eight days ago but that is all, so thrilled to finish and on the podium.”
Participation in the South Island Endurance Series is also a qualifier for the national title race in November. Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell will host the New Zealand Endurance Championship for both one and three hour titles on November 7.