John McIntyre has won his third BNT V8s Championship title in an intense final weekend of racing on the Hamilton street circuit.
Winning the 2010-11 NZV8 championship title marks a milestone for McIntyre and his race team, John McIntyre Racing, as they become the first driver/owner/team combination to win three titles in the hotly-contested New Zealand V8 touring car series. Together the Hawke’s Bay-based team has won 38 races in five seasons after McIntyre successfully collected two further races on the streets of Hamilton.
“We’re absolutely delighted!” says McIntyre. “It’s been a really tough season, up and down with no points from several races set against eight wins from 21 races this season.
“The pressure was on right to the end. We had to do well in the final race to secure victory over Angus Fogg, who has been a tremendous competitor all season.”
On Friday, McIntyre qualified on pole for the first of three races for the NZV8 finale in Hamilton where the NZV8 teams competed as part of the ITM 400 V8 Supercar event.
In Saturday’s action-packed wet-track 12-lap race, ‘Johnny Mac’ finished second to Fogg, who has topped the points-table for most of the season and eased out a slightly larger overnight points’ advantage over Craig Baird in second and McIntyre in third. With two races to run on Sunday, Fogg started the day with 1050 points to Baird’s 1003 and McIntyre’s 998.
Sunday’s first race saw McIntyre beside Fogg on the front row of the starting grid and, again, Fogg had the early advantage.
“The track was wet in places, dry in places, but we clearly had improving pace in the #47 Blackwoods Paykels Protector Safety Falcon,” says McIntyre. “This allowed me to pass Angus fair and square midway through the race and go on to take our seventh win of the season.”
After McIntyre’s deft passing manoeuvre, Fogg’s gearbox failed, dropping him well down the field to limp home in 20th place. McIntyre’s 75 points for the win provided an 11-point advantage over Fogg and moved him into the championship lead for the first time this season with just one race to go.
“With Angus only 11 points behind and starting in sixth place [the starting order for race three was determined by adding the points from races one and two], we could not afford any errors. Again the track was wet in parts and dry in others. We, and many of the series leaders, were out on the dry slick Dunlops and those first few laps as the track continued to dry were very difficult. It looked like Angus and Andy Booth were having a ding-dong battle behind me and, while I was pretty comfortable out in the lead, I wasn’t letting up for one second!”
With the race shortened to 12 laps due to another competitor’s crash, McIntyre stamped his dominance on the season’s final race with a margin of nearly nine seconds back to Booth in second. Fogg took a well-deserved third place, but it wasn’t enough to stop McIntyre taking the title. The final championship points are McIntyre on 1148, 26 ahead of Fogg with 1122 and Baird, last season’s champion, with 1064.
McIntyre sums up, “We’ve had so much thrown at us this season, so it’s particularly satisfying to win our third championship here in Hamilton in front of a fantastic crowd of V8 fans. It’s a real milestone for the team and we can be justly proud of our efforts.”