McIntyre_PukekoheRd3McIntyre’s strong pace goes unrewarded at Pukekohe

The weekend’s third round of the BNT V8 SuperTourers at Pukekohe had ups and downs for John McIntyre during what was an action-packed and chaotic series of races on the revamped circuit.

The early pace of the #47 Blackwoods Protector Falcon meant things started well for John McIntyre Racing with the team delighted to report their best qualifying result of the season, third.

“We came through Saturday’s two practice sessions with the third quickest time in each session,” says the Nelson-based McIntyre. “And despite qualifying running in very wet, challenging conditions and having what can only be called a ‘major moment’ on my first flying lap, it was very pleasing to secure the third-quickest qualifying lap. The car showed it was very competitive, our time placing us just behind Shane van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin, and ahead of Greg Murphy.”

Sunday’s three races got underway with showers frequently scudding across the circuit. McIntyre was ahead of the massive start line incident which saw race one red-flagged; he then ran steadily in fourth in the restarted 15-lap race before being caught out by surface water at turn four.

“I ran wide on the damp surface; only just slipping off the circuit onto the grass, and then into the tyre wall. I managed to get moving again and finished 13th with a fair amount of damage.”

The second race, 20 laps, was nearly over before it began with an even bigger crash going into turns two and three on the first lap. Starting from 13th put McIntyre in the thick of the action and he had to divert into the pit garage briefly before the restart, unlike at least three other competitors whose cars were too badly damaged. The three-time V8 champion then made the most of the Blackwoods Protector Falcon’s strong race pace charged through the field to finish a well-deserved sixth.

In the third and longest race, 32 laps, McIntyre started fifth.

“I had a really good start, getting the inside line past Scott McLaughlin and Ant Pedersen. I then passed Shane van Gisbergen for 2nd before he re-passed me again at the hairpin. There was some hard racing before they all got back past me, then I was able to back off a little and hold a comfortable fifth place for much of the race. I had a run at Ant in the closing laps and was reeling him in before hitting the turn one bumps for which Pukekohe is so well-known. Basically it was my fault, when I hit the bump the wheel was out of control in my hands and I went off into the gravel trap where I stayed.”

The resultant 14th saw McIntyre slip one place down the V8 SuperTourer points-table to eighth.

“All in all, it was a treacherous weekend of racing – every class had their issues with the rain-slicked circuit. But the car had really good race pace, so we’ve been fighting among the top five all weekend. Compared to last year’s round at Pukekohe, I’ve been heartened with the car’s performance here this weekend.

“Huge thanks go to the JMR crew who worked incredibly hard all day to patch up the damage and keep #47 in the races.”

There’s now a 14-week break until the next V8 SuperTourer round in Taupo at the end of August.

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