Invercargill driver Liam MacDonald has maintained his championship lead with just one round remaining after Round 5 of the 2016/2017 BNT NZ Touring Car Championship at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon in Feilding this weekend.
It was not all smooth sailing however, with problems early on but MacDonald ended the round with a good win as he burst through from fifth on the grid to take the lead out of the first corner and hold it all the way to the flag.
Liam on the podium (far left), Round Winner Brad Lathrope (centre) and (far right) third placegetter Nick Farrier. Photo: Euan Cameron
The young Southlander was second fastest in qualifying on Saturday morning on his first visit to the Manawatu circuit and then took the lead early in the opening race that afternoon. However a gearbox problem left him with just two gears, making for a struggle. The GT Radial NZ Falcon lost several positions, dropping to fourth place. After an incident in which a Class 1 car partially blocked the track the race was stopped and at the restart MacDonald ran off at first corner while trying to find the right gear and dropped to the back of field which is where he finished, albeit still gaining valuable points.
On Sunday morning he started sixth on the grid and had a great battle with Chelsea Herbert of Albany before finishing fourth despite struggling to get speed out of corners with a new gearbox fitted for the race.
Liam MacDonald and the GT Radial NZ Falcon at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon in Feilding. Photo: Euan Cameron
The gearbox issues were gone for Race 3 and from his brilliant launch off the line the GT Radial NZ Falcon took yet another victory.
The three results were good enough to secure second overall for the round. MacDonald admitted at the end of the round the Manfeild layout had taken a little while to get his head around. “It took a wee bit to get used to its fast and flowing nature and how to get good drive out of corners.”
One round of the championship remains over the weekend of 11/12 March.
MacDonald is tackling the 2016/2017 BNT NZ Touring Car Championship with the support of GT Radial NZ, Million Dollar Cruise Queenstown, Classic Car Warehouse Invercargill, Advanti Racing and YHI NZ, Ideal Electrical, BNT NZ, Auto Windscreen Replacement Ltd, Southern Bolts & Fasteners, Auto Fab, NAC Insurance, Speedy Signs Invercargill, Derek Orr Auto Refinisher, Southern Probuilt Engines, DAL Photographics, Discount Tyres Invercargill and Sport Scholarships with the Community Trust of Southland and the ILT Foundation and What’s On Invers