Motorsport ‘Up and comers’ race SsangYong utes at Manfeild

By: SsangYong NZ   |   30 Jun 2014

Nine Ssangyong Actyon Racing [SARS] ute’s started the 1 hour endurance race at the North Island Endurance Championships at Manfeild Park Raceway and nine SARS ute’s took the checkered flag in a thrilling “race within a race” that saw a dramatic lead change during the compulsory pit stop. Class leader going into his compulsory pit-stop, Taupo school boy Faine Kahia, suffered from a poor pit-stop where the driver has to either hand over to a relief driver or exit the car and run around it, belt up and re-join the race. Meanwhile young Speedsport scholarship winner Brook Reeve had taken the lead and put in some very fast laps before he to pitted from 1st place and in a lightening quick pit-stop emerged still in the lead. Try as he did, Faine the “FIG’ could not make up the 9 second difference although he did the fastest lap and set a new SARS benchmark time for the Manfeild circuit, recording a 1.34.728 lap record after earlier recording a 1.34.035 pole setting qualifying time. “We stuffed up in the pit-stop, but the car was great! Congratulations to Brook and the Sabre team they beat us fair and square on the day - bring on Pukekohe, we won’t make the same mistake twice that’s for sure!” Hayden Johnson took a well-deserved 3rd place with a heady drive to fight off young Palmerston North school teacher Chris Symons, from Waiuku’s Cory Homes. This ahead of a fast charging Andy Wright from Wright Tanks who was quickly getting to grips with his ute and will be a force to be reckoned with by the next race. Christina Orr, returning to motor racing after taking time off racing to have two children (the youngest only 3 months old) drove a hard fought race with plenty of passing and re-passing moves against Andy Wright, before losing too much time in the pits to move up the order. 16 year-old Tauranga schoolboy and top Go-Karter Blake Harris had never driven anything at all on a proper race track - he came home 8th ahead of Auckland BMW Series driver Alex Sherie who struggled gamely around the entire race track locked in 4th gear for the last 15 minutes of the race, to finish in 9th. Brook Reeve, took out the round win and the $3,000 bonus for his next race. He later commented “I was really surprised how good these SARS ute’s are - I just didn’t expect them to handle like a race car. My Team Sabre Motorsport did an awesome job getting the ute set up with the right tyre pressures and a perfect pit-stop. I can’t thank Mark Petch and Rick and Deon Cooper enough for giving me the chance to drive this weekend. I am hoping to be at Pukekohe - we just have to try to get some sponsorship organised to do that race but for sure I would like to be there with my teams support.” Chairman of SsangYong, Rick Cooper said after the race, “I haven’t enjoyed watching a race like this for a very long time, bring on the Championship Series - I can hardly wait.” The next SARS event will be at the First Windows and Door’s Endurance Championship at Pukekohe Park Raceway on Saturday 26th July 2014. For those interested in finding out how they can get involved in the SsangYong Actyon Racing Series, contact Series Coordinator Mark Petch on 021 721 666 or email

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